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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024
Graduate P Shaylee Ackerman (10) pitches during Texas A&Ms game against Valpo on Feb. 10, 2024 at Davis Diamond.
Holding down the house
February 22, 2024

Aggie raises $5,000 with bike ride

 
 

From June 9 to July 6, Laine Melikian, a junior recreation, parks and tourism sciences major, rode his bike from Virginia Beach, Virginia, all the way back to his hometown of Georgetown, Texas, to raise money and awareness for cancer.
In January of 2010, Melikian lost his mother, Wendie Melikian, to brain cancer. In March of 2012, he decided to start a nonprofit organization called Wendie’s Wish, of which he now serves as president, to help families struggling with the financial and spiritual weights of cancer.
Melikian and three friends from high school pushed through 90 to 100 miles a day on bikes in the rain and wind all in hopes of promoting Wendie’s Wish. Melikian said he knew this ride, spanning over 1,800 miles, would not come without sacrifice and hardship, but he could not have prepared for the mental and physical abuse he and his team would take.
“The whole trip started off pretty bad,” Melikian said. “It rained the whole ride to Virginia Beach from Texas and it rained at our first campsite the whole time. Unfortunately that just kind of set the tone for the first half of the trip.”
West Virginia proved to be the state that troubled the team the most. The weather was constantly against them, and at one point, Melikian thought they might not make it out of a storm with winds exceeding 50 miles per hour.
Melikian said a stranger took them in and let them stay in his home to wait out the storm. Kindness like this met them sporadically throughout the trip, and the bike trip became secondary to the relationships they each made along the way, Melikian said.
Positive experiences along the ride encouraged Melikian and taught him about human nature, he said. At least 100 people were present in Georgetown to greet and support the riders, Melikian said.
“I learned how much people want to bless other people,” he said.
Not only did the trip raise awareness about Wendie’s Wish, it also gained funding for the project.
“This trip was 100 percent effective and did what we needed it to do,” Melikian said. “We doubled our funds. We left with about $5,000 in the bank and we came back with $10,000. We had a lot of sponsors donating on our behalf.”
Wendie’s Wish will use this increase in funds to help more families cover the everyday costs associated with a cancer diagnosis, such as prescription medications and groceries.
Melikian was finally able to meet families Wendie’s Wish has already been assisting when the team rode into Georgetown on July 6.
“I finally got to meet the families we have been helping; they were calling us heroes even though we didn’t really do anything,” Melikian said. “We were just trying to help in any way we could.”
Michael Pickle, a junior recreation, parks and tourism sciences major was the driver on the final day of the ride from College Station to Georgetown.
“I was the driver, the helper and the mother for the final day from College Station to Georgetown,” Pickle said. “When I was talking to Laine [Melikian] a few days before they got to College Station, I was so excited. I ran cross country with all these guys in high school, so there is a bond between the four of us through that.”
Pickle had originally intended to do the entire ride with the team but unfortunately couldn’t because of financial reasons.
“Hearing about it all month, that last day was so awesome,” Pickle said. “Being able to help them out and serve them I think was better than being able to bike with them.”
Scott Turner, a junior humanities major at Blinn was part of the welcome party in Georgetown, and said he believed Melikian was exhausted, but satisfied with the journey.
“I could tell Laine [Melikian] was very tired and I think overall he was glad it was over, but still excited he had done it,” Turner said. “It seems like they did get a decent amount of publicity especially in the Austin and Georgetown area.”
Wendie’s Wish is looking to help more and more families in the coming months and years. Since his return, Melikian said he and others at Wendie’s Wish have been in the process of assisting two more families and creating a new system for the non-profit organization.
Melikian is hoping to get other events planned to raise money like 5k and 10k runs and bike races.
“This trip gave us a lot of confidence,” Melikian said. “There will be large scale events to come for Wendie’s Wish. If we can pull off something of this magnitude then we can do anything.”

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