Season of Giving: Rowers Make Impossible Wish Come True

Dec. 18, 2012

LAWRENCE, Kan. – The Kansas rowing team used creativity and the power of social media to make a wish come true during the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s (SAAC) Adopt an Angel program. The program consists of participating KU athletic teams adopting a needy boy or girl and trying to provide gifts on their wish list. The rowing team adopted a four-year-old girl, a one-month old girl and a 14-year-old boy.

The girl asked for learning toys and winter clothes so the rowers pooled their money and bought some gifts. The girls also bought necessities for the baby.

“We just started collecting money within the team to try to meet our goal of collecting $300,” said SAAC President and rower Abbey Lozenski. “Team members gave $335 dollars out of their own pocket. Other team members went out and bought gifts for the kids, so we exceeded our goal.”

The team knew buying for the boy would be a little more difficult.

“We were worried we were not going to find as much stuff since he was older,” Lozenski said. “We got him a pair of jeans and a really nice button-up shirt.”The final gift was going to be the most difficult to provide.

“We knew he wanted a real guitar, so we started calling local music stores and we gave them the background of our situation and we started to bargain,” Lozenski explained. “We really could not get the price below $100.”

That’s when the rowers turned to social media to ask for help.

“We started tweeting about it and (men’s basketball player) Justin Wesley re-tweeted it so that was really cool,” Lozenski explained.

Lozenski estimates their tweets reached a few thousand people within a couple hours.

“One of our former teammates tweeted us back that she might be able to help so we called her right away,” Lozenski said. “We talked to her about her guitar and she graciously explained that money was not a factor and she wanted to help. We bought the guitar with our remaining donations. It was really, really nice. There is no way we could have purchased this guitar in a store with the money we had.”

Lozenski says the team had a great time participating in the program and she is proud that their effort will make someone’s Christmas special.

“It was cool how we made someone’s Christmas great by putting in just a little effort,” Lozenski said. “It got kind of emotional. We didn’t think it would happen. Erin Brogan, Caity Decker and Emma Umbarger were really set on getting this guitar. They were making lots of calls and sending texts and really got into it.”

NCAA rules prohibited the rowers from contact with the boy since he is in high school, but the gifts will be opened on Christmas morning. The official online source for Kansas Athletics, Williams Education Fund contributions, tickets, merchandise, multimedia, photos and much, much more.