Giving to Extremes links athleticism, philanthropy

Some students play sports to compete, some play to stay in shape and still others play for the sheer love of the game. Though sports are largely a personal endeavor, Giving to Extremes, a new preliminary organization on campus, gives students the opportunity to marry their passion for athletics with a desire to help people.

Giving to Extremes is a medical charity that capitalizes on individuals’ thirst for a challenge to raise funds to allow medical professionals to embark on surgical missions in impoverished regions of the world.

Currently the charity focuses its aid toward surgical illnesses such as fistula, cleft palate, and a number of other easily remedied illnesses.

The organization stresses the fact that most illnesses the missions treat are not difficult to correct; the matter is the lack of resources available to many people in these regions.

Evan Einstein ‘14 was introduced to Giving to Extremes by his cousin who competed in an Ironman Triathlon to donate to the charity.

“He inspired me to get other people and myself to do amazing things for an amazing cause,” said Einstein.

He immediately saw potential for similar feats in Vassar’s student body, stating, “I noticed that Vassar has a huge heart, and also has a very fit student body. We could really do some amazing things for some less fortunate people by training for and completing an athletic endeavor.”

Einstein and fellow executive board member Matheu Duhaney ‘13 both swim for Vassar and they hope to encourage other athletes and competitors to push themselves to physical extremes for the organization’s cause. Though the organization might naturally attract those who are physically fit, athleticism is not a requirement for being part of Giving to Extremes.

“We do not discriminate based on athleticism in terms of volunteering for Giving to Extremes VC, or even participating in an event. If you would like to hike up a large hill in the area, but need to train for it, you can come to us. We will set up a profile page so that you can spread the word to family, friends, colleagues and peers about your plan,” said Einstein.

He went on to explain that once students have established their event, people can start donating to their cause.

Currently, the org is planning to host a 5K fun-run in May that anyone can participate in. All runners have the opportunity to set up a page with Giving to Extremes where their supporters can track their progress.

For more ambitious runners, students can participate in community marathons and other athletic events to raise funds for the myriad of medical initiatives.

Einstein explained his vision for the scope of the organization, saying, “At Vassar, it will be a portal for people that want to do something…for the charity itself.  For example, if someone wants to run the Dutchess County Classic marathon, they can come through us and run for Giving to Extremes.”

He continued, “Anyone can participate in this event, but they can run for a cause, which makes the run incredibly inspirational. The student would also get to meet people from the greater Poughkeepsie community and engage in an activity that is both amazing in our county, but also inspirational for Giving to Extremes and other future runners.”

Giving to Extremes will give students the chance not only to have a connection with the people they are helping overseas, but will more directly allow them to get involved in the Poughkeepsie community­—a detail that is central to the organization’s mission.

“Surgical missions to impoverished nations come from reaching out and fusing as many communities as possible. We will have a working google spreadsheet that updates runners, swimmers, hikers, etc. about upcoming events in the local area,” he said.

Einstein concluded optimistically,“This organization is brand new and it’s here to build a legacy.”

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