CHICAGO (CBS) — Biking for a better tomorrow; a suburban man and his close friend are teaming up to ride more than 100 miles to raise money and awareness for human trafficking victims.
CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas joined them for a training session this week.
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“I’ve whipped this 61-year-old body into shape, so we’re ready to go,” Mark Kurland said.
That’s the sound of dedication and drive. Kurland and Dan Stratton are training for the ride of a lifetime.
“I’m hoping my seat holds up,” Kurland said.
They’re riding 110 miles – from Lombard, Illinois, to La Porte, Indiana – to raise money for Naomi’s House, a long-term residential care facility for survivors of human trafficking.
“These are women that were tricked into this, or wooed into it in some way, and all the promises that were made were dashed. So, for me, it’s something I have to do something about,” Kurland said.
Their goal is to raise $15,000 for Naomi’s House, to cover the group’s costs for 100 days, and create more success stories like Rebecca Zeller’s. She was a human trafficking victim at age 17.
“The only thing I knew was prostitution and trafficking,” she said.
Zeller said Naomi’s HouseNaomi’s House helped her get back on her feet, leave her old life behind, and fight through a drug addiction.
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She said, if not for Naomi’s House, right now she’d be “probably struggling, if not dead.”
Instead, now she works for Naomi’s House.
So does Kurlan’s daughter, Brianna Saxer, who will cheer him on for the May 28th ride.
“If we can raise money to help them heal, if we can really be in the trenches with these women as they walk through everything they go through to get from one side to the other, it’s essential,” Saxer said.
It’s a scenic ride, but a tough one.
“When we get to the hills, it’s attack the hills for Naomi’s House,” Kurland said.
He and Stratton can’t wait.
If you’d like to donate, please reach out to Saxer by email: [email protected]
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An anonymous donor is willing to match donations all month.