Over the break, the LMU Men’s soccer team had the opportunity to raise money for rare cancer research through an event called Cycle for Survival. Although it may look just like your everyday Soul Cycle from the outside, these indoor cycling events raise money with 100% of every donation allocated in to rare cancer research. Before the event the team reached out through various social media platforms attempting to raise money for our LMU cycling team.
The event lasted from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with the team rotating on and off the 5 stationary bikes we had reserved. Each hour a new instructor would take over with their own unique and brave story about the struggles they or one of their loved ones had experienced due to cancer. Even though each person who spoke had every reason to throw in the towel and give up, they continued fighting and after all that was said the one line that really stuck with me was “today we are here to ride for those who can’t.” To me this applied to more than just cycling, it applied to everyday life and to be doing the best you can because someone else can’t and using what you have learned to contribute back to the community. Despite being on spring break and having a game the next morning, after these words I could see how motivated my team was to jump on the bikes and get going.
The highlight of the event for me was when LMU Junior Antonio Porrecco began to ride the bike despite being on crutches and in a leg brace. He was truly living out the words of the instructor as even though he wasn’t in the best situation with his injury, there are others who have it worse leaving him no excuse to not ride that day. In total, the LMU team raised $3,250 for rare cancer research adding to the $33,435,965 already donated this year. Through these service opportunities, the LMU student athletes get a chance to enrich the community while educating the whole person through the service of faith and promotion of justice.
Another example illustrating LMU’s commitment to the Jesuit principles of social justice and service, members from both LMU’s men’s and women’s soccer teams joined together at St. Anastasia Elementary School in Los Angeles to help engage and integrate both faith and justice into our lives, and the lives of the students, through service. During this time, the LMU student athlete’s participated in recess with the elementary students by playing games around the school yard and talking to them about the importance of school. Although this activity was brief, it is just one of many that both teams participate in throughout their time at LMU. This gives both teams the chance to give back to the community while learning to care for the whole person, foster the service of faith, and promote justice through engaging with elementary students. Working alongside LMU’s student athletes, the entire LMU community is devoted to integrating faith and education through acts of service.
There are over 140 active clubs and organizations offered at LMU with students volunteering over 175,000 service hours a year. The various service opportunities provided on campus through Campus Ministry and other service organizations allow all students and faculty to engage in the community, assimilating justice and service into their lives, and striving to grow closer to God by becoming men and women for others.