Two adventurers on a roll in efforts to help sick kids

NEIGHBORS

March 12, 2001|By Amy L. Miller | Amy L. Miller,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AT WESTERN Maryland College, students Shelley Sorensen and Steve Sharkey are known for doing crazy, adventurous things.

Now they're planning a 50-day cycling trip from Ocean City to San Francisco to support the Johns Hopkins Children's Center in Baltimore.

Sharkey "said to me, `How about we bike across country?'" Sorensen said, recalling how the idea developed in September. "We both thought we'd like to do it for a reason."

After months of planning, which included obtaining a map from the organization Adventure Cycling, buying new bikes and gathering supplies, the friends are seeking the last piece of the puzzle - sponsors for their adventure.

"We thought about getting pledges, but then we realized it's about 4,000 miles," said Sorensen, who hails from Hanover in Anne Arundel County. "So now we'd like to get flat donations from people and businesses."

Aside from raising money, the two hope their trip will serve as the beginning of a new college organization, "Heroes Helping Hopkins," through which students would travel to Baltimore to for crafts, projects and other activities with patients at the children's center.

Emotional support for the trip has come from family, friends, Western Maryland College and the hospital, which has written a letter assuring potential donors that the fund-raising effort is legitimate.

"Any time I tell my mom that I want to do something, I always say, `Don't say no yet,'" said Sorensen, a 19-year-old sophomore, recalling when she asked permission to make the trip with Sharkey, a 21-year-old junior from Long Island, N.Y. "But she's completely supportive. She's talking to friends and other businesses, and telling me all the places to contact."

WMC has been interested because "the alumni really like it when students promote the college," Sorensen said.

Their biggest faculty supporter has been political science teacher Volker Franke, who has given them names of people to contact for maps and supplies.

"My friends all joke about this," she said, noting that one has offered to create a Web site to track the pair's progress after they leave May 20. "They say, `We know that Shelley is going to heaven.'"

Information or pledges: Shelley Sorenson, 410-751-8053 or Steve Sharkey, 410-751-8044.

Community prayer

Members of several Carroll County churches will pray for the community from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow at Westminster United Methodist Church, 162 E. Main St.

The session will include fellowship, a scriptural selection, and songs.

Information: Sharon McIntyre, 410-876-4150, or Susan Crowley, 410-795-5147.

Anti-addiction group

Members of the Heroin Action Coalition of Carroll County plan to meet from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday at Carroll County Office Building, 225 N. Center St., Westminster.

The speaker will be Susan Krebs, president of the Carroll County Board of Education.

This county outreach program, designed to support families dealing with heroin addiction, sponsors a heroin help line at 410-386-2424.

Information: 410-386-2733.

Psyched about science

Pupils at Robert Moton Elementary School will get a hands-on taste of science from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Thursday as they participate in the school's Science Night.

The program, which focuses on astronomy, chemistry, biology, geology and physics, will give the youngsters an opportunity to try out telescopes and microscopes, and handle live animals.

Information: 410-751-3610.

Amy L. Miller's Central neighborhood column appears each Monday in the Carroll County edition of The Sun.

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