U of I students plan to ‘bicycle for babies’ throughout state

CHAMPAIGN — It’s not the usual Lenten sacrifice.

This Lent, Jimmy Becker and Mike Schafer, two students from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, have decided to give up their spring break.

While other college students are enjoying themselves at the beach or visiting their families back home, Becker and Schafer, both avid bicyclists, will be pedaling across the state of Illinois to raise $20,000 for the pro-life cause.

They’ve dubbed their project “Biking for Babies,” and will donate the money they raise through sponsorships to the Champaign Pregnancy Resource Center and Students for Life of Illinois.

Starting on Saturday, March 21, at the Newman Center on the campus of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, they will pedal 100 miles a day for six days, with Chicago as their destination, zigzagging their way north by way of St. Louis, Springfield, Charleston, Champaign, Peoria and Aurora.

They have set up a Web site at www.bikingforbabies.com, to spread the word about their project and encourage donations, and to update supporters on their training with notes, photos and videos. Donations can be made electronically through the Web site.

The idea for “Biking for Babies” was conceived last summer during a phone call between Schafer and Becker, who were both training for bike races.

“Within the conversation, we went from simply entertaining the idea to figuring out the logistics of how it could all work,” said Becker.

“Pope John Paul II really provided Mike and I with the inspiration to take on this task,” said Becker. “Specifically, it was during one of his addresses to the youth at World Youth Day that he said, ‘Woe to you if you do not succeed in defending life.’

“It is our moral obligation and responsibility to promote the culture of life and end the culture of death. God blessed Mike and me with the talents and abilities necessary to take on this specific role within the greater mission,” Becker explained.

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