MORRIS – Morris resident and Immaculate Conception School Principal Kim DesLauriers can often be seen riding around town on his bicycle.
He’s taken the love of riding to another level – that of fundraising.
“Five years ago, I road across Iowa as part of the Ragbrai Ride,” DesLauriers said. “I raised $34,000 in sponsorships that year, so I decided to continue to raise funds that way.”
Since his inaugural ride, he has continued raising funds by participating in different biking endeavors, and the rides have earned the school about $160,000.
The money raised from sponsorships is used to help provide tuition assistance for families unable to afford to pay all or part of the tuition and fees.
“Some people can’t afford the tuition,” he said. “In 1980, it was only $175 per family. Today, it is $3,600 for one student, plus a fundraising deposit and book fee.”
DesLauriers, who will be 68 in November and just finished his 34th year at ICS, feels that supporting the school where he works and loves is important.
“I figure doing the ride is my donation, I have a vested interest in the school,” he said. “It’s a challenge to not only raise funds but also to make the ride.”
“Life is about helping other people. If you have the ability to help through health or resources, you should help those who need it,” he continued.
This summer, DesLauriers is looking for sponsorships for a new bicycle ride that will take him from Cairo, Illinois, to Chicago over a six-day period.
The trip, which is about 450 to 500 miles, begins July 6 in Cairo and travels about 85 miles a day.
He will be riding with Bicycle Illinois, a tour company that offers four tours with five dates to choose from.
Rob Layton, ride director with Bicycle Illinois, said “challenging” is the only word to sum up the ride from Cairo to Chicago.
“It’s a challenge to get it done,” he said. “Downstate we will be going through Shawnee National Forest and the area is quite hilly.”
He said the private company does not do any rides as fundraisers for a particular cause but has had several people ride with them for their own personal cause.
DesLauriers said while he knows the event will be challenging, he’s just going to do his best.
“I’m just going to take my time and not try to break any speed records,” he said. “I’ll do fine if I bike between 12 to 14 miles an hour.”
His wife, Trudy, will be following him in her car to provide support and be there if he needs her.
To prepare for the ride, DesLauriers, along with his wife, rode in Bike the Drive in Chicago a couple of weeks ago, and he said he had no problem biking the 60 miles that day, and was able to go out the next day and ride some more.
He and Trudy often ride their bikes to Minooka, stop at McDonald’s to get something to drink and then turn around and ride home, or they ride to Seneca and back.
This year, DesLauriers is adding a twist to his typical fundraising ride. He is dedicating the ride to the loved ones of the ICS community.
“I am compiling the names of these people in a notebook that I will take each day along the route,” he said.
He said, the people could be those who have passed into eternal life, those who are ill and in need of prayers or simply someone they wish to honor.
He will update the community on the ICS Facebook page.
Anyone who would like to sponsor Immaculate Conception School Principal Kim DesLauriers in his fundraiser can email him at email@example.com, or call the school at 815-942-4111.