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Photo by Mark Newman

Photo by Mark Newman

Doina Moscu helps nine-year-old Analisa Leuzzi work on the balance beam at the Hamilton Mountain Gymnastics Centre. The centre and the Hamilton Gym Stars group are collecting clothing and other materials to send to Moscu’s home town Onesti, Romania.

Helping her home town

Mountain gymnastics school backs owner in Romanian relief

By Mark Newman, News Staff

Doina Moscu shakes her head when she talks about Onesti, the city in Romania where she was born.

For the last three years the long-time proprietor of the Hamilton Mountain Gymnastics Centre on Harlowe Road has been visiting friends and family in Onesti and trying to help address what she sees as grinding poverty in many parts of that community.

“It’s a poor country,” Moscu said. “People struggle on a day-to-day basis, there is no work.”

Onesti is also the home town of Olympic gold medalist Nadia Comaneci.

Moscu said she began returning to Romania after her husband Nick died three years ago.

Nick was a member of the 1976 Romanian Olympic gymnastics team and after coming to Canadamore than 33 years ago, the couple opened the gymnastics school and founded the Hamilton Gym Stars group in 1985.

Moscu said she has been to Onesti seven times in the last three years, most recently she returned to Hamiltonin August after a three-month visit.

During those trips she has been helping raise money for orphanages, the sick and elderly.

“They have nothing medically,” said Moscu, who noted the eastern European country has seen only modest improvement from the days of Communist rule. “They have to pay for everything.”

Moscu has begun collecting clothing and other materials that she plans on shipping to her home town later this month with further shipments planned for early next year.

For infants she is looking for donations of baby clothes, hats and boots.

She needs pens, pencils rulers, calculators and other classroom supplies for school children.

For adults and seniors, she is collecting socks, pajamas, skin cream, hats and adult diapers.

Moscu isn’t alone in her quest to help the people in Onesti.

When the parents of the youngsters in Hamilton Gym Stars heard about what she was doing they immediately began helping collect the needed items.

“When she was telling us what was going on in Romania, we thought you know what, she’s been doing it on her own, helping them very much and we thought lets help her too,” said Lia Leuzzi, one of the parents and a board member at the club that has about 600 members. “We want to help her help Romania.”

Gym stars president Jennifer Rainville said the members are very eager to help Moscu.
“She’s got a good heart, she wants to help people,” Rainville said.

The public is also invited to drop off donations at the gymnastics centre Monday to Friday between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. and on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Moscu said the drive will continue to June 2014.

In 2015 Moscu said she is looking to do something similar to help people in Hamilton in recognition of the club’s 30th anniversary.

 

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