Wallace bikes from Green Bay to St. Louis to raise money and awareness for Hope Pregnancy Resource Center
Biking for Babies: Wallace raises $5,147
TINA L. SCOTT
Erich Wallace, age 32, from Merrill loves to bike, loves to compete, and unashamedly loves to talk about his God, his faith journey, and his pro-life stance. So when he learned of an opportunity to combine all of those things, well, he was in like Flynn, as the saying goes.
The cause that combined all of these elements? Biking for Babies.
Wallace chose to become a 2022 biking missionary for a national event to raise money and awareness for a cause near and dear to his heart and selected Hope Pregnancy Resource Center in Wausau to be the recipient of his personal fundraising efforts.
“Biking for Babies is a life-affirming organization that seeks to change our culture into a culture of life, one pedal stroke at a time, by raising awareness for pregnancy resource centers and the services they provide, raising funds for those pregnancy resource centers, and offering physical sacrifice up, spiritually, for women, babies, and families in crisis pregnancies,” Wallace said.
Fundraising and awareness combine in the organization’s annual National Ride event, “where 52 missionaries from all over the U.S. ride around 600 miles in 6 days from 6 different starting points which converge in St. Louis for a Celebration of Life,” he said.
Wallace chose to participate for a multitude of reasons, and his commitment to participating began long before the actual National Ride July 11-16, 2022.
“I began training in March with some weight lifting and indoor biking, but got outside as soon as the weather permitted,” Wallace said. “I would bike 3-4 nights per week, with shorter rides of about 16 miles during the weekdays, and a longer ride on Saturdays.” All of this was after working a full day doing construction projects.
“There were mileage benchmarks we had to complete along the way in order to be safely prepared for the National Ride, which averages about 100 miles a day, 6 days in a row,” he said.
“I was on the Wisconsin Route that traveled from Green Bay, Wisconsin, to St. Louis, Missouri,” Wallace said. For the actual event, he biked about 575 miles in 6 days, he said. But with all the practice, he definitely biked well over 1,000 miles in the months leading up to the event.
“My goal was to raise $5,000 for Hope Pregnancy Resource Center in Wausau,” Wallace said, “And with the generous support of many people within the Merrill community and some outside of it, including a large donation from the Knights of Columbus of $1,200, I was able to raise $5,147.”
“Praise be to God!” he said.
“Raising funds for a cause bigger than onself is a humbling experience,” Wallace said. “People are so much more generous than I could have imagined when they believe what they’re doing will make a difference. I am so grateful for all those that contributed!”
Though it was an incredible undertaking to prepare for physically, mentally, and spiritually in less than six months, he started with the end in mind.
“I decided to take on this mission because I do believe that every human life has dignity, from conception to natural death, and I recognized that in order for other people to recognize this truth, I needed to do something to show I’m more than just talk when it comes to this cause,” Wallace said. “I needed to act to support women and babies in crisis, and there is really no argument against raising money for a center that provides totally free services for women such as pregnancy testing, STD testing, ultrasounds, parenting classes, clothes, car seats, food, etc. … and then biking a crazy amount of miles to gain people’s attention and kind of suffer in solidarity, in some small way, with these women.”
Will he do it again? “I am currently thinking and praying about participating again next year,” he said. He urges others to “Consider it!”
“The 2023 Biking for Babies missionary applications just opened, and if you’re between the ages of 18-39 and think you might be interested in taking on this beautiful challenge, or donating to the organization, go to bikingforbabies.com to find out more!” Wallace said.
And if you have a bit of a competitive streak like him, as well as a passion for the cause, maybe 2023 will be the year Merrill has more biking missionaries “Biking for Babies” at the National Ride than any other city in the U.S. It could happen. Challenge issued.