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A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of producing and reporting my first public radio piece. It was on a group of cyclists that biked around the Sea of Marmara, here in Turkey, to raise money for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)–a charity based in the UK. The group, Cycling4Gaza, or C4G, is comprised of a remarkable group of people who dedicated their time outside their jobs to train and fund raise for a greater cause.

Watching those cyclists and their supporters cross the finish was electrifying. Anyone who witnessed the tears of joy and exhaustion streaming down the bikers’ faces could see that they were doing this for something greater than themselves. That kind of joy and drive in a group of people who doesn’t do this professionally has to come from somewhere beyond ego and testing one’s limits–it comes from this place deep inside telling you there’s a reason you’re doing this, that you’re helping someone, somewhere. Turkey isn’t a place you go for a leisurely cycle, as C4G found out the hard way–it’s hilly at best, and when you’re tackling 350km in 3 days, a 12-km uphill ride isn’t exactly a simple challenge. But they did it, and for the time I spent with them and watched them celebrate, I was consumed by their energy. Their joy was my joy. In that moment, their greater purpose felt like it belonged to everyone.

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That energy, that joy, that absolute exuberance is exactly why I enjoy covering stories like this one. The stories that bring insight into desperate situations are incredibly valuable and necessary. But what I love about writing is sharing stories that are full of the joy and elation experienced from doing good. I love to bring in characters that inspire listeners or readers to believe in something and take action. I believe that that positive energy channeled into harsh realities can do nothing but good.

The piece aired on Deutsche Welle radio’s Inside Europe. You can listen to the segment here, and check out the full program here.