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Among the many planned activities and events that have been interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic there is a long list of significant events that will no longer happen. With the Cornell Woman's Rowing Team primed and ready to take on any challenge that came their way, COVID-19 unexpectedly erased their season.

Still, the team's head coach, Steve Coppola, encouraged his athletes to stay committed to their workout routines and set goals for themselves. When three members of the team and Class of '22 – Gabby Gabel, Mary Kate Henderson, and Annie Bryson—found themselves struggling to find the motivation to continue, they came together to find a solution.

"We came together to deal with the loss of a season that was just getting started and realized that their disappointment paled in comparison to the hardships that individuals everywhere are facing as a result of the pandemic," said Gabby Gabel.

It was then that the teammates knew that they needed to "push back against COVID-19" and the control it was having over the lives of others and their own. As a result, the threesome has launched a virtual 10K fundraising event they dubbed "Active Against COVID-19" with the goal of raising $10,000 for COVID-19 relief efforts in Tompkins County through the United Way. And they are inviting others to join them.

The athletes have continued their daily work-outs in preparation and are involving friends and family to become their "sponsors" by giving to United Way of Tompkins County on their behalf. The women's rowing team members have selected May 17 for their 10K day as it was the day originally scheduled to be the Ivy League Women's Rowing Championship.

Anyone who wishes to participate in the event can register. During the week of May 17, participating athletes will run a virtual 10k from wherever they are in the world, and 100% of the funds raised by their "sponsors" will go towards programs and services providing COVID-19 relief and recovery in Tompkins County.

"Our goal is to help those in Tompkins County who are struggling right now because they have lost a job, are sick themselves, or are a healthcare worker risking their lives to save others. But, we also hope that the pre-existing inequalities that are revealed even more-so from this virus are acknowledged. Having these conversations and addressing these issues as a real problem, even when coronavirus ends, is very important," said Anne Bryson.

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