WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last month the Gallaudet University men's swimming team finished sixth overall at the 2010 Capital Athletic Conference championships held on the campus of St. Mary's (Md.) College. Junior swimmer Daniel DiDonna (Parsippany, N.J.) was busy competing in various events during the three-day weekend but when he was not in the pool he was collecting money for underprivileged and oppressed deaf children in Guatemala.
DiDonna was able to raise several hundred dollars for the cause. Recently, DiDonna wrote a thank you letter to the CAC for all swimmers, coaches, families and friends that donated money. The entire letter is below.
Dear CAC Swimmers, Coaches, Family and Friends:
It's not merely an interest, but rather a passion-driving ambition, burning ever so fiercely in-participating with the Global Reach Out Initiative and carrying out its mission. This opportunity, which you have supported, will provide me an experience where I can broaden my horizons, breaking down more walls and adapting to cultural differences with transitional ease. Not only that, but also the feeling of teaching and helping others-seeing the light bulb going off above one's head. Nothing could be more rewarding than the feeling itself.
With your support and generosity, I will be able to experience relations with different kinds of people on many levels, improving my ability to channel my expressions and identity as a Deaf male through different languages. Showing other Deaf persons oppressed in their home countries that "they can do anything but hear," spreading the word about Deaf power and self-advocacy giving those increased confidence in pursuit of their goals and dreams. My driving ambition is giving those tools and the language needed to achieve their goals as well as learning what they've taught me. This experience alone involves groups of people from different cultural backgrounds all bonding for one common purpose, "connection." The feeling of connecting with another whole, bringing light and understanding to your mind and body, becoming more emotionally aware are all different types of rewarding experiences from connecting with others. I want to help the program carry out its mission in other countries, Guatemala in this case; making a difference in other lives will inspire me to take on bigger challenges in helping others.
Thus, I deeply thank you all for giving me the opportunity to have a simple fundraiser during the weekend of Capital Athletic Conference competition for swimming. It is great to see the presence of community support-where everyone comes together under a common purpose, giving everyone a chance to prove themselves as a swimmer. Not only through swimming, but through the monetary donations I received from swimmers, coaches, parents, and other fans. We raised a total of 352.50 dollars only in two days! The community's support and donations will benefit many Guatemalan Deaf students greatly, and we all thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Many thanks once again!