Sharon Day is preparing to fulfill a lifelong dream of competing in the women’s high jump at the Olympics.
Meanwhile, a non-profit organization in her hometown is trying to ensure the former Cal Poly standout doesn’t live her dream alone.
Palm Harvest Church of Costa Mesa has been collecting tax-deductible donations in order to provide Day’s family with the means to travel to Beijing and see her compete.
“We asked (the Day family) if they would have trouble financially in getting over to Beijing and they said, ‘Yes,’ ” lead pastor Mike Decker said. “That’s what got the ball rolling on our end.”
Decker, who is spearheading the donation efforts to help Day’s father Eugene, mother Yolanda and sister Jasmin make the trip, has known the family for several years. His wife Robin coached Day when she played high school volleyball.
After researching airfare and lodging, Decker determined about $25,000 is needed to send Day’s parents and sister to Beijing for six days.
The church then created an “Olympic fund,” from which all proceeds go toward providing the family with the money necessary to see her perform on the world’s biggest stage.
“We are looking at every angle to see how we can chip away at the expenses to the family,” said Decker, who budgeted $5,000 for airfare, $17,000 for lodging and $3,000 for various other costs.
Day, who starred at Cal Poly from 2003 until her college career ended in mid-June, finished third at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. on July 4 to qualify for the games.
She is currently in London training with several other Olympians.
The event’s qualifying round is Aug. 21, with the finals two days later.
Jasmin Day, who just completed her sophomore season at Arizona, also competed in the trials, finishing ninth.
Decker has also reached out to Cal Poly for help in sending the Day family to Beijing.
“Costa Mesa is not a very affluent community,” he explained. “That is why the Cal Poly community is so important. If everyone chips in, $25,000 is nothing.”
As of press time, $6,525 had been donated, according to the church’s Web site.
To read Sharon Day’s blog, with which she plans to chronicle her experiences during the Olympic process, or to donate, visit palmharvest.net.