by: Jessica Colombo

How far would you go to help a stranger?

This Spartans Helping Spartans blog was created for a reason:  to exemplify compassion through collaboration in Spartan Nation.  And we also talk about Careers from time to time.  This post is about the former and gives us faith that we created this blog for the right reason.


Remember Piotr Pasik?

Piotr is truly a remarkable Spartan.  Born with Spastic Cerebral Palsy, Piotr has thrown self-pity by the way side and has lived the life he always wanted to.  An Alumni of MSU, Piotr is now in graduate studies in the Rehabilitation Counseling Masters Program at MSU.  He has developed a passion for everything soccer, from watching it to playing the sport on IM teams for the past seven years.

MSU Gymnastics Team showing support for Kathryn

Remember that epic movement I was talking about in our last post?

Meet Kathryn Mahoney.

Nicknamed “Money” by her teammates, Kathryn is a senior chemical engineering major and an All-Big Ten Academic MSU athlete on the Gymnastics team.  Tragically, Kathryn sustained a fracture to her C6 vertebra during practice on December 29, 2010. 

After a successful surgery, she was transferred to the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for her rehabilitation journey.  The injury left Kathryn paralyzed from the neck down.  Doctors have high hopes that she will gain control of her upper extremities and be able to live an independent li fe.  Kathryn’s loved ones are optimistic that her determination and spirit will pull her through to beat the odds.

To beat the odds, Kathryn needs support, and lots of it!

To help Kathryn, Piotr is starting a movement through his passion for soccer.  Piotr and Kathryn were perfect strangers. They had never met before this movement, but Piotr recognized the long road that Kathryn has ahead of her is motivated to help make that road a bit smoother.

To achieve his goals, Piotr has to score goals- and lots of them! Throughout the Intermural Soccer season, Piotr will be dedicating all of his goals to Kathryn.  He has set up a donation account through MSU Federal Credit Union called “the Mahoney Fundraiser.”  For every goal scored, donors can sign up to donate an allotted amount of their choice to Kathryn.  Kathryn is a competitor and Piotr sees it only fitting to use competition as a mechanism for raising money for her.

Check out Piotr’s moves on the playing field!

This movement is bigger than Piotr or Kathryn.  With this fundraiser, Piotr hopes to accomplish three things: raise money for Kathryn Mahoney, raise awareness about issues surrounding athletics and disability and give the Spartan Nation an opportunity to come together and contribute to a common cause.

Through this fundraiser, Piotr wishes to highlight the tremendous risk that all of our athletes take every single day by representing MSU. MSU Athletics has produced not only amazing athletes, but more importantly, amazing people. Athletes are not strictly defined by their sport, and in fact excel in many other areas of life, as Kathryn perfectly exemplifies.  Similarly, people with disabilities are not strictly defined by their disability, and in fact – with the provision of proper accommodations – are able to actively participate in a wide range of community activities, such as sports and recreation.  Piotr has turned his passion for soccer into a passion with purpose. With this movement, he hopes to help people see the “able” in “disabled” and the “valid” in “invalid”.

Upon recovery, Kathryn will return to East Lansing in Fall 2011 to complete her bachelor’s degree studies in chemical engineering.  According to Piotr, MSU’s campus and RCPD services have more than adequately addressed his needs in terms of accessibility.  It is not only barrier free, but also provides the nation’s best public transportation system, allowing him to become completely independent despite his disability.  Further, he hopes this endeavor will raise awareness about issues of campus accessibility for people with disabilities and the inclusion of those individuals in campus events and activities.

Help Piotr make the goals of this fundraiser become a reality. Make sure that Kathryn will be able to echo the words above when she returns to campus and completes her Chemical Engineering degree.

Spartan Nation Unite!

Donate to “the Mahoney Fundraiser” Fund at MSUFCU (Michigan State University Federal Credit Union) or set up a pledge amount for Piotr’s goals scored!  To Donate, please visit: (feel free to share this link!)

You may also donate by check at an MSUFCU location. Go here for more information on ways to donate and support Kathryn.

Piotr has nicknamed his project “Goals 4 Money”. He has just hit the 50 goal mark! Follow his efforts on Facebook and Twitter

Thank you in advance for your support!

For an update on this story (04/07/11) read what the State News wrote.

Jessica Colombo is senior Spartan Marketer graduating in May from MSU. She is currently seeking a position in a company’s world domination department. In addition to working for MSUAA Career Services where she gets to do fun stuff like write for this blog, she also enjoys rocking out to old school Michael Jackson in her cube and eating coffee flavored Haagen dazs ice cream. Say hi @jcolombo



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