Kick Stand Up for Kids: A Year Later
“My goal is to give each child what I remember as one of my most prized childhood possessions: a bicycle.” – Mike Sullivan
One year ago, Mike Sullivan was in the final days of Kick Stand Up for Kids — his unassisted, 460-mile bike ride from Moab to Denver. His goal was to raise $15,000 for the bike program at Mount Saint Vincent, where each child who walks through our doors receives a bicycle, helmet, and protective pads to keep.
The trip took eight days, and Mike battled wind, rain, lightning, and steep elevation gains, but he never let it dampen his spirit. The most arduous day was a 60-mile ascent with an elevation gain of more than 4,000 feet against fierce head winds. “It was hands down the hardest day of the trip,” Mike recalled. “I don’t think I ever went over seven miles per hour the entire day.” That leg of the journey took an exhausting nine hours to complete. Mike said he briefly thought about giving up, but he just couldn’t do it. “I had to keep going for the kids,” he said.
When Mike rode up to Mount Saint Vincent’s doorstep, the children greeted him with cheers, balloons, and banners. Then, the kids joined him in a victory lap around the bike track on campus. It was a moment that was nothing short of incredible.
Thanks to the generosity of a host of supporters — including friends, family, community members, and Mount Saint Vincent donors — Mike exceeded his goal. In the end, he raised more than $16,000 for the bike program, an amount that will fund the program for a full five years. Since then, from November 2014 to August 2015, Mount Saint Vincent has given 37 children a bicycle and gear of their very own, plus taken on the repairs that come with bike ownership.
“Riding bikes gives the kids a sense of freedom. They get to choose how fast they go, where and when to turn,” said Rob Johnson, Mount Saint Vincent’s recreation therapist. “What an empowering experience for children who are growing and learning to trust.”