SAN DIEGO - September 7 is National Grateful Patent Day! 

The Grateful Patient Project was created by former San Diego Chargers kicker Rolf Benirschke as a way to collect the stories of passionate, grateful patients who want to celebrate, thank, and encourage the profound dedication of health professionals/medical researchers/manufacturers and the enduring love of their families/caregivers. 

Rolf has a special place in his heart for this particular day, as he was once a very grateful patient. 

It is 38 years to the day since Rolf helped lift the Chargers to a 34-13 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in his first game back after his life-threatening battle with ulcerative colitis.

At the onset of his illness, it appeared Rolf’s playing days were over. But, after a year of hard work and an unbelievable outpouring of support from the San Diego community, he miraculously returned to the field on September 7, 1980 and played seven more seasons for the Chargers.

First celebrated in 2017, National Grateful Patient Day has seen explosive growth in the past year with an increased social media following and new partnerships with organizations across the country. 

Locally, the day will be celebrated by UCSD where Rolf will be greeting patients throughout the day on September 7 and at Rady’s Children’s Hospital.

Rolf created “The Grateful Patient Project” as a way to give back himself, and now encourages others to do the same. 

For more information or to share your own story, visit The Grateful Patient Project's website: