Langston Hughes once wrote, “What happens to a dream deferred?” With Tokyo postponing the 2020 Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic, top athletes — those who’ve trained their entire lives for one moment in the sun — may know the answer.

The human spirit finds a way to soar over any adversity. Recently, nine Olympic and Paralympic triathlon hopefuls are using their athletic prowess to raise money for those affected most by the crisis. Their act of charity stands as a testament to the power of love and creativity. 

What They Hope to Do 

According to Melissa Stockwell, one of the athletes, the team have decided to race the sun instead of competing in Tokyo this year. They plan to bike 438 miles across the state of Colorado in only 24 hours. They hope to raise $20,000 for the USA Triathlon Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund — which aims to support members of the community negatively affected by the coronavirus — and Southern Colorado’s Care and Share Food Bank.

To accomplish this feat, the team, dubbed Operation Co-COVID, plans to divide and conquer the Centennial state with its abundance of mountains. They will gain a staggering 23,000 feet in elevation and must maintain an average speed of 21 miles per hour to complete the route in the allotted time. 

Along the way, they may decrease their chances of contracting the virus themselves. Research shows that 20 to 25 minutes of aerobic activity daily can prevent and manage health conditions like diabetes that make individuals more susceptible to severe complications. Health officials recommend regular exercise as a method of coping with the pandemic to mitigate mental stress, as well. 

Ways That You Can Help 

If you would like to help Operation Co-COVID, you can donate on their website on a one-time or recurring basis. You can also share information about the challenge on social media to encourage others to contribute. 

It’s understandable if you can’t provide a cash donation at this time. Even if you didn’t lose your job or had a reduction in hours, you might feel anxious about what’s to come economically. Here are some other ways you can volunteer to help during the pandemic:

  • Donate blood: Many people shy away from blood donation out of fear of contamination, but organizations have implemented strict measures to protect your safety. 
  • Help on a crisis line: Deaths of despair were spiraling out of control before the pandemic, and mass economic uncertainty will only make things worse. Become an angel for somebody who needs a sympathetic ear.
  • Shop for your neighbors: With restrictions easing, many elderly individuals and those with compromised immune systems feel more frightened than ever to venture into public. If you have no qualms about getting groceries, offer to pick some up for your neighbors. 
  • Sew masks: Are you a whiz on a sewing machine? Many hospitals still need extra face coverings, and you can also hand them out at mass events, like the recent protests, to those who may lack them. 
  • Contribute your talent: Do you know how to code? You could reach out to a preferred nonprofit and offer to help with website maintenance. You can also create art to draw awareness to the need for continued social distancing or help write educational materials. 
  • Take care of yourself: Hospitals in some areas are reaching capacity. Wash your hands frequently, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly to reduce your chances of needing admittance yourself. 

Making the Most of a Challenging Time Through Acts of Kindness

Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls didn’t let a dream deferred keep them from the sport they love — they found a way to use their talent for charity. Performing similar acts of kindness can help you to weather the pandemic with improved mental health while filling an urgent need. 

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About Author

Mia Barnes is a lifestyle and wellness writer and the Editor in Chief at When Mia isn't writing, she can usually be found reading, jogging or volunteering at one of her local animal shelters.

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