Pia Sass '86 Fund

March 4, 2005

Dear friends and alumnae of Yale Women's Crew,

As you might have heard, Pia Sass '86 was very seriously injured in a hit-and-run bike accident in rural Wisconsin in June as she was training for a triathlon. She came out of her coma in early October and has just been released from the hospital to her home in Minneapolis, where she faces years of recovery. It is too early to know how fully she will recover, but we are hoping for more miracles to follow those that have already come. A picture of Pia, and a sort of journal of the last six months, can be found at www.caringbridge.org/mn/piasass/.

Our teammate Pia started rowing in her sophomore year, 1983-84, and then rowed for two years in the bow of the JV; the 1985 JV won the Sprints. At about 5'2" she should have been too short for rowing, but her dogged determination and wonderful sense of humor kept her right in the thick of it, and at graduation she received the Kiesling Award for team spirit. Pia went to law school after Yale and until recently was a public defender in Minnesota, zealously and effectively representing indigent people accused of serious crimes. Our Pia is an optimistic fighter with a big heart and a big smile, and it is those same qualities which have enabled her to survive a terrible accident and take giant steps toward recovery.

A group of us who know Pia through Yale Women's Crew are coming together to honor Pia's fighting spirit, to inspire others to follow her, and, above all, to inspire Pia's own vision of herself by making a donation in Pia's name to Yale Women's Crew. We remain open about the ultimate purpose of the fund, but our discussion ranges from buying a boat($25K) to sponsoring a new team prize ($2-20K) to endowing travel opportunities, or something completely different (any amount). If you'd like to join the email list where this discussion goes on, please contact Susan Prince at susan.prince@colorado.edu.

We hope to make a presentation at the 20th reunion of the class of '86 in May, 2006, and we hope Pia will be there with us. Thus we have about sixteen months, over two tax years, in which to raise money, and so we start our project by sending this appeal to all YWC alumnae and friends. Gifts or pledges of any size are welcome, and we especially encourage pledges for 2005 and/or 2006, so that we can get an idea of the scale of our project.

Yale Crew is all about winning, and Pia's story reminds us how many dimensions there are to winning. We'd love to make Pia feel like a very big winner.

Donations can be sent to:
Will Porter
Head Coach- Yale Women's Crew
PO Box 208216
New Haven, CT 06520
Attention Pia Sass Fund

Yours sincerely,


Sophia Gebhart Anema '86
Lisa Melfi Bain '85
Christie Beeman '86
Anne Boucher '81
Nat Case '70
Anne Freeman Clothier '86
Jennifer DeVore '87
Miranda Durham '86
Anne-Marie Eileraas '86
Jenny Murray Gormley '84
Helen Sanders Gray '87
Elizabeth Mairs Harper '84
Rena Longstreth Hedeman '87
Kristin Hoganson '87
Denise Vergot Holle '87
Liz Kissick '86
Rochelle Kopp '86
Claire Liu '84
Gwen Mathewson '86
Jennifer Mogck '86
Suzanne Mustacich '86
Claudia Nelson '86
Winnie Jones Nordell '88
Valerie Norton '87
Susan Prince '86
Sarah Carlson Rieger '86
Amy Metzler Ritter '88
Adina Roskies '87
Gail Savarese '86
Helen Stevens '84
May Tao '87
Kathy Ward '87