Photo Courtesy of University of Northern Alabama

Photo Courtesy of University of Northern Alabama

Louie’s Kids is lucky enough to have a great group of supporters. Two of them are going above and beyond this month to bring awareness to our cause.

On August 1, 2013 Lauren Schifano, a University of Alabama Student, set off on what will surely be the trip of a life time! She is cycling 400 miles across the state of Alabama. That alone would be an incredible accomplishment, but there’s more. Lauren will be making her journey on a Unicycle. Yes, it’s true! Lauren was first drawn to unicycling about six years ago. “Initially, I loved unicycling because it presented a unique physical challenge”, Schifano says.

Schifano, who says she was overweight after high school as a result of not being taught proper nutrition as young person, decided to commit to a healthier lifestyle during her college years. She started with dance classes and running and then began to change her diet to fuel her activity level.

When asked what her pull was to the cause of fighting childhood obesity she answered, “Honestly, it breaks my heart so much to see children battling with hypokinetic disease at such young ages and in increasing number. These are diseases that would not exist or would be greatly mitigated if changes could be made to lifestyle. It takes educating kids and giving them the tools necessary to make the change. Also, I really love kids and want to see the next generation grow up in health and awareness about how to treat their bodies.”

A journey of this kind will not come without challenges. Her biggest concern is about road safety. Schifano states, “Alabama is not exactly known to be bicycle, or in this case unicycle friendly. Several cyclists in North Alabama have recently been hit on the roads. I would like to ride to honor them and spread the message of sharing the road on my journey.”

In the challenging moments during her training and preparation Schifano says she has found motivation in remembering the cause and also remembering a younger version of herself. “I thought about myself as a child while I was riding and how I wanted to make that little person full of hope proud”, she shared.

Shifano’s eyes are not just focused on the finish line; she is also looking forward to everything along the way.  “I am really looking forward to the people I will meet. I already know that there is a unicycle team from Gwin Elementary School that I will be meeting up with. Really looking forward to that day.”  In addition to the children who she is riding for, she hopes to bring some joy to everyone on her path. “I love that when people see you ride they just can’t help but smile. It is a tool to inspire people, and in this special case, I hope to inspire kids and adolescents.”

Best of Luck, Lauren! We know that you have inspired us!

Follow Lauren’s blog to find out more.