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Boy, 12, rides bike to provide shelter for family in need

CYCLING FOR SHELTERBOX: Alstonville Public School student Laen Wilkin cycled from Ballina to Byron Bay towing a ShelterBox to raise money for the charity which provides disaster relief internationally. Michael Latimer, from Transition Cycles in Balina, provided the bike.
CYCLING FOR SHELTERBOX: Alstonville Public School student Laen Wilkin cycled from Ballina to Byron Bay towing a ShelterBox to raise money for the charity which provides disaster relief internationally. Michael Latimer, from Transition Cycles in Balina, provided the bike. Contributed

ALSTONVILLE'S Laen Wilkin has raised enough money to provide emergency shelter to one family in crisis.

The 12-year-old Alstonville Public School student last week rode a bicycle, provided by Transition Cycles in Ballina, the 37km from Ballina to Byron Bay to raise awareness and money for the not-for-profit organisation, ShelterBox.

He completed the ride towing a 30kg shelter box and camped out using the equipment provided to people around the world who have lost their homes due to natural disaster or conflict.

Last year, ShelterBox, which is supported by Rotary, helped 145,000 people.

Laen was inspired to complete the ride after hearing ShelterBox Australia CEO, Mike Greenslade, speak at school earlier this year.

He said he immediately wanted to do something to help those people who lost everything and didn't have access to water after things like earthquakes, cyclones and war.

He told his family he wanted to raise money and, together, they came up with the idea for the bike ride.

Laen's family joined him on the ride last week.

He cycled along shared pathways where available and on the road in other places. He camped at the Flat Rock Tent Park, North Coast Holiday Parks Lake Ainsworth, and Byron Holiday Park.

He spoke about ShelterBox to public school students at Ballina, Lennox Head and Byron Bay along the way.

He finished his four-day ride at the Byron Bay Lighthouse last Friday, then went back to school.

Laen raised $1000 which was a fantastic effort and buys one shelter box, with donations still rolling in.

Topics:  northern rivers community


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