College Student Raising Money Through Exercise

This article from Catholic News Agency was so inspiring to read about. Sylvan Pinto is a hero that should be getting recognition for the great things he is doing for people in need. This young man is biking and running some ridiculous distances, which in itself is impressive. He is doing them to raise money for very admirable causes too though and that is what makes his story so special. I hope that sharing this with you brings you as much happiness and it did to me. Just hearing about this made my day better.

“Sylvan Pinto IV biked 301 miles from West Newton, Pa., to Washington, D.C., biked 15 miles on another trip and ran 37 miles to help Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Greensburg defray medical costs for people in need.

A parishioner of Our Lady of Grace Parish in Greenburg, Pa., Pinto contacted Catholic Charities when he was 16 and a sophomore at Hempfield Area High School.

An avid runner, Pinto, now 20, wanted to “put a reason behind running” and help others. He got the idea after reading the book, “Ultramarathon Man,” about a man who helped save people’s lives by running. The runner logged 200 miles to help pay for a liver transplant for one person and a heart transplant for another.

“It made me think I could do something to help people. I figured I could do it on my own, but it wouldn’t be as special if I didn’t help someone,” said Pinto, an elementary education major who will be a junior this fall at Robert Morris University, Moon Township.

Pinto is on RMU’s cross country, indoor and outdoor track teams.

Pinto’s first run was 22 miles for families in Greensburg and Johnstown. The Greensburg family’s youngest son, 17 months old at the time and deaf, needed cochlear implants. Pinto raised $2,500, all of which went to defray medical costs.

He also raised the same amount for the Johnstown family, whose 8-year-old child was born with childhood arthritis, and for a girl in Indiana who needed reconstructive facial surgery after being in a vehicle accident when she was 5 years old.

When he biked to Washington this past May 22-26, he raised $2,500 for a 13-year-old and his father from Indian Head. In 2009, the 13-year-old was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of cancer that attacks the muscle and bone connection tissue. Later that year, his father was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma, an aggressive and fast-growing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.” – “Pennsylvania College Student Runs and Bikes to Help Those in Need”, Catholic News Agency

Following Claire – Dave O’Mara’s amazing tribute to his aunt, a Catholic nun

Today I was over on A Nun’s Life reading some of their quality blog posts and I came across this one in particular. It is the story of a man named Dave O’Mara who has been volunteering his time to a group called Real Options for City Kids for a long time. He has chosen to take his volunteerism to a new level though, in honor of his Aunt Claire. He will embark on a two month journey on bicycle across the country. I thought this whole story was just really great, and it is definitely something that I felt obligated to share with everybody. There are plenty of links in this article to help Dave’s cause and donate money, or to just follow Dave and see how his journey has been going via some social networking sites.

Have you ever come to a point in your life when you wanted to do more? More to help out those in need, more to develop yourself and most of all….more to make a difference? Well that time is now for me. My name is David O’Mara and I am just your average guy looking to make a change. I have spent years volunteering for one of the best philanthropic organizations in the United States, Real Options for City Kids, otherwise known as R.O.C.K. This is an organization that works tirelessly to help create physical and educational development programs for underprivileged kids in San Francisco. They have changed the lives of many young boys and girls and are about to help change mine.

I grew up in Modesto, CA and had the privilege of knowing someone who committed her entire life to helping others. My Aunt Claire was an educator, a missionary and most of all a wonderful role model for me and my family. She has spent her entire life working to better the lives of others. It is in her honor that I have made the decision to embark on this two month journey. I have left my job and will be riding my bike across America to raise money to support the R.O.C.K. cause. Am I a seasoned cyclist you ask? No. Have I done this before? No. Am I a little bit nuts? Probably. This is my chance, however, to make a change. I realized that I have the capacity to do something that could truly change the lives of others. Yes, it will be a challenge. And, yes, it is a big risk – but, if Aunt Claire taught me anything, it’s that the joy you get from enriching the life of someone else is worth every sacrifice that comes with it. Wish me luck! Here’s to you Aunt Claire…. – Dave O (from Dave’s website, Following Claire)

Now meet his 88-year-old great-aunt, Sister Claire O’Mara, OSU, an Ursuline nun and missionary. Writes Dave, “For most of her adult life, she was an educator and missionary in Latin America and in the Bronx. She dedicated herself to working with the poor and less fortunate wherever she was. She was always steadfast in her commitment to her beliefs and values. In 1995, New Rochelle College honored her, along with Rosa Parks, as a “Woman of Conscience.””

Dave is currently somewhere in Kansas on his trek from California to Washington, DC.

I highly encourage you to check out Dave’s website Following Claire and also to keep an eye on him via Twitter and Facebook. Please consider supporting Dave in his mission — he needs help along the way — donations, a place to stay, a cyclist to keep him company on the road, help spreading the word through the Internet and media!

Pretty cool guy, eh?

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