Hannah Crowder has taken a big leap of faith.
That leap is actually a bike ride she plans to take across Canada this summer to raise funds for Invisible Children.
For years the Briercrest alumnus has raised money to help the organization Invisible Children which seeks to end the kidnapping and forced participation of Ugandan children in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) lead by Joseph Kony.
The Global Studies graduate just returned last month from the Invisible Children’s summit entitled The Fourth Estate, held in Los Angeles on the campus of UCLA.
“You had to apply to attend it,” Crowder said. “They only accepted 1,400 students, so I applied back in February. I was accepted in April.”
As she prepared to attend the summit, Crowder said she was thinking about how she could raise more money for the organization.
“I wanted to do something a little more committed, something that took a little more out of me,” she said. “I wanted to really feel like I was contributing because this is something I really believe in and something I have the ability to do something about. I thought about doing something big—I thought about doing a walk—Moose Jaw to Saskatoon or something like that.”
Crowder was inspired to take an even bigger fundraising step by one of the speakers at the summit.
“One of their directors, named Jedidiah, was talking about how he was going to be biking from Oregon to the tip of South America for fun—just to have an experience,” she said. “I was like, ‘Wow, if he can do that, well I shouldn’t be walking from Moose Jaw to Saskatoon. I should be doing something bigger’”
Crowder came up with the idea of a bike ride across Canada where she would bike one kilometre for every dollar donated.
“For every dollar I raise by December 31st, 2013, I bike one kilometre, up to the distance across Canada, coast to coast,” she wrote on her blog about the project. “The ride will take place next summer, at the end of the university term, and last until I’ve ridden as far as the donations take me. Every dollar goes directly to the campaign; my ride costs are covered by myself and whatever sponsors commit to helping.”
This kind of project sounds like something an avid cyclist would initiate, but at present, Crowder doesn’t even own a bicycle.
“I was in triathlons as a kid, but the last one I did I was 12,” she exclaimed. “Then I got really sick as a young teenager and I wasn’t able to do physical activity for a few years.”
Crowder got back into cycling this summer when she worked at a gym and had a free membership. Now enrolled at the U of S in the international political studies program, Crowder continues to train.
“I have access to a really incredible facility to do the training,” she said. “Just because I’m not a biker right now doesn’t mean I can’t be by next summer.”
The fundraiser has mapped out the general route she will take for her bike ride.
“The ride will start in Comox Valley, British Columbia,” she explained on her blog. “Following sections of the Trans Canada Trail as well as the major highways, I’ll then head to Victoria, catch a ferry, and begin the journey across the country. If I meet my original goal, I’ll ride all the way to Winnipeg, Manitoba.”
Donations for Crowder’s project have begun to come in. At present, she knows she’s at least cycling 500 kilometres because her Dad, who is an avid biker himself, donated $500.
“They’re all for this,” Crowder said of her parents who currently live in Thailand. “They’re a world away and they think I’m crazy, but they’re supporting me anyway.”
As the different parts of Crowder’s cross-country bike ride come together, she admits there’s still an important piece missing.
“I’m still looking for a partner—someone who wants to do this ride with me.”
More about Hannah Crowder’s fundraising for her bike ride for Invisible Children (ZEROLRA –Ride for Justice) can be found at http://rideforzerolra.blogspot.ca.