NEW ORLEANS, April 13, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – When it comes to saving babies, you could say they’re going the extra mile – 1,150 of them, to be exact.
From May 21 – 29, a group of 10 young men and women will bike from New Orleans to Chicago on this year’s Biking For Babies ride, to raise money for women in crisis pregnancies.
This is the fourth year the ride has taken place. It was founded by Jimmy Becker and Mike Schaefer, both age 23, who became fast friends while students at the University of Illinois.
The ride is more than a fundraiser: the bikers will stay with host parishes and families along the way, while giving talks on the dignity of life and the terrible losses from abortion.
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“The year we were born, over 1.5 million babies were killed by abortion in just the United States alone,” said Becker. “How many of those could have been our classmates? Our teammates? Our friends?
“We’re riding for the 1.5 million that aren’t here to ride with us.”
The original Biking For Babies ride was a 600-mile ride from Carbondale, Illinois to Chicago, over Spring break, which raised over $13,000. Becker and Schaefer have increased their fundraising each year and hope to reach a goal of $50,000 in this year’s ride.
One of this year’s beneficiaries is Life Network of Southern Illinois in Waterloo, Illinois, which offers pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing/treatment, counseling, plus childbirth and newborn care classes and more. Life Network serves Southern Illinois and nearby St. Louis, MO.
“We want all to experience the beauty of life as we have,” said Shaefer. “And with the ride, we are doing our best to promote the protection of life from the moment of conception to a natural death.”
Becker, originally from Des Moines, Iowa, now works as a missionary with FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) at the University of Texas in Austin. Schaefer originally from Freeburg, Ilinois, currently works as the Associate Director at the Newman Center at Bradley University in Peoria. The rest of the team includes a mix of students, seminarians and professionals from Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Virginia, and Wisconsin. (Read the profiles of all 10 riders at BikingForBabies.com.)
The team will ride between 90 and 190 miles each day, beginning in New Orleans and stopping in Columbia, Jackson, and Greenwood, Mississippi; Memphis, Tennessee; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Freeburg and Champaign, Illinois and concluding in Chicago. The group will prepare for the ride by cycling long distances, running and weight training.
Many of the riders are competitive athletes. Becker, Stacy Hague of Chicago, and Jeremy Winter of Mobile, AL are all triathletes. Hague is also on the Cross Country Team at University of Illinois. Schaefer runs marathons and has even talked fellow teammate Taylor Caputo, of Streator, Illinois into running a half marathon.
But not all this year’s bikers are super athletes: Stephen Barany, 22, of South Bend, Indiana, who drove the support vehicle on last year’s Biking For Babies from Covington, Lousiana to Champaign, Illinois, humbly admits on the group’s website, “despite my unimpressively average athleticism and fears of failure, I have decided to follow in the pedal strokes of my close friend Mike.”