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CHARLOTTESVILLE – The Virginia rowing team, which won the 2010 NCAA Championship, recently participated in two community service efforts as part of its fall schedule. Members of the team volunteered at Camp Holiday Trails, a camp for children with special health needs, and raised $6,600 for breast cancer research through the Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler.

“Camp Holiday Trails is a camp in Charlottesville for children with special health needs,” UVa junior rower Morgan Joseph said. “They do a lot of things based on volunteering because they have a smaller budget so we go in and clean up. We do odd jobs. Some of us carried rocks to make a canal and other people cleaned up the cabins.”

Camp Holiday Trails’ mission is to empower, encourage and educate campers with chronic illnesses, their families and healthcare professionals.

“It’s such a positive feeling to know that you’re helping out the community,” Joseph said. “One of our rowers, Ruth Retzinger, worked at the camp over the summer and the impact the camp has on the kids’ lives is incomparable to anything because this camp wouldn’t really be possible for them without volunteer work. It’s nice to know our efforts are really helping kids in those situations. Summer camp is one of those things that everyone wants to do, so giving those kids the opportunity to have a fun summer away from whatever issues they may have at home is very uplifting for them.”

For the past nine years, the UVa women’s rowing team has annually raised and donated money towards breast cancer research through the Charlottesville Women’s 4-Miler. Proceeds of the race went to the UVa Cancer Center Breast Care Program.

“Running four miles is kind of stressful anyway,” Joseph said. “But knowing it’s for a good cause and a bonding moment for everyone is good. Especially toward the last two miles there are a lot of posters of people’s names who have passed away from breast cancer or have defeated breast cancer. People carry those. It’s definitely an emotional thing. To be there and emotionally support those people is really moving. It’s motivating, especially if you’re tired. These people are fighting breast cancer and I’m just fighting minimal fatigue – I can finish this.”

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