In his junior year at Archbishop Molloy High School in Queens, N.Y., Dante Giraldi assisted on a goal with 15.6 seconds left in double overtime to lift his team to the city championship, capping off an undefeated season. It’s a moment he will remember for the rest of his life. Now, during the global pandemic, he is looking to make a lasting impression on the groups that helped shape who he is today.
Giraldi, a rising junior, has started a fundraiser called #CrushCOVID to support those impacted by coronavirus. Half will go to support meals and supplies for those on the frontline. The other half will be split between his high school, Archbishop Molloy, and his former soccer club, Blau Weiss Gottschee, to provide financial support to individuals and families affected by COVID-19. The idea came soon after the spring semester was cut short.
“High school impacted me in terms of what I strive to be and Villanova, and its motto of Ignite Change, ties into that,” Giraldi said. “I recognized the critical role these groups played in me progressing as a person. I knew I needed to step in and make a difference.”
Giraldi also noted that his school and soccer club were filled with a diverse group of middle-class families, many of them immigrants, who may not have the ability to support their families through COVID. Queens is often mentioned as an epicenter of the pandemic and seeing the devastating impact of the virus hit close to home for Giraldi.
“You turn on the news and see the number of people infected, and the death toll increase, and it just doesn’t seem real,” he said. “But then teachers and students’ parents from your high school pass away from the virus. It’s real when it hits you. It made its presence known in Queens.”
Based on the amount of money raised, Giraldi will run anywhere between a half marathon (13.1 miles) and a full marathon (26.2 miles) in June. He has never run more than ten miles.
“I know the supporters of this cause will be behind me, as well as the kids in my community who have been impacted,” Giraldi says. “They’ll be the ones driving me and pushing me every step of the way.”
To learn more about Giraldi’s #CrushCOVID cause, click here.