SFMS holds Pedaling for Pennies walkathon

The St. Francis Middle School students put their shoe leather to the pavement for a cause.

Even with rain clouds overhead Madzey couldn’t wait to try out his new ride and wanted to pedal home. Rienstra accompanied him on the five-mile trek.Photo submitted

Even with rain clouds overhead Madzey couldn’t wait to try out his new ride and wanted to pedal home. Rienstra accompanied him on the five-mile trek.Photo submitted

Approximately 100 students gave up their May 10 lunch time to walk around the school track and raised $1,097 for Pedaling for Pennies.

Pedaling for Pennies was founded by James Rienstra of Zimmerman, who lost his father to pancreatic cancer in 2005.

Eighth-grader Shawn Madzey won a new bike, donated by Kathi Doreo, Aflac regional sales coordinator, for raising $159.

All the participating students were eligible to win prizes, including Nickelodeon Mall of America all-day passes, Underwater World tickets, mini-golf tickets, Science Museum tickets donated by ECM-Sun Publications and BOB 106.1 and Kendamas donated by AmeriDama Kendamas, Anoka.

After losing his father, Rienstra was inspired to fight cancer by raising awareness and money through a bike trek across parts of the globe.

While on his first journey in 2011, Rienstra blogged and wrote about how cancer has affected others’ lives as he met people and talked with them along the way while on his bike carrying four large saddle bags that he lived out of for three months, said Tammy Kriesel, Pedaling for Pennies coordinator.

Rienstra has pedaled over 3,000 miles from Minnesota to Alaska raising $17,000, but is now going to embark on a new journey he calls, The Pan-American Cancer Tour (PACT), she said.

Rienstra will leave Aug. 15 on the trek he has spent two years planning and preparing for and he will bike from his home in Zimmerman to Ushuiua, Argentina, according to Kriesel.

“The trip will take about 18 months,” she said.

One hundred percent of the donations given to Pedaling for Pennies goes to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund and stays local helping researchers in Minnesota, Kriesel said.

“Rienstra pays for his entire trip out of pocket,” she said.

For more information about Pedaling for Pennies, visit its website at www.pedalingforpennies.info or www.facebook.com/pedalingforpennies.

Tammy Sakry is at tammy.sakry@ecm-inc.com

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