By Darren Iozia
Rollerblade enthusiast Mike Lempko, 26, has combined his passion of a sport with a passion of kindness. Starting in San Francisco, Lempko is riding the roads of America to raise awareness and funds for No Kid Hungry, a national campaign ran by Share our Strength. “This is something I have always wanted to do,” Lempko said while staying at the Hampton Inn, Jacksonville. “I thought about it, so I did it,” he added. Not having kids himself, he is passionate enough to make this trek for the cause. “You could say it’s ‘a fortune of opportunity;’ a philosophy,” Lempko explained, as to why and how he can do something great and for a great reason.
Lucky for Jacksonville, storms passing through the area forced Lempko to make an unscheduled stop in town. Several Rotarians, specifically Ryan Byers and Brittany Henry, helped Lempko find residence for the evening.
Lempko is slated to arrive in New York sometime during the third or fourth week of September, weather and terrain make it hard for an exact arrival date, but Lempko is enjoying the people, the roads and especially thankful to those who are willing to accommodate him from town to town.
His average mileage per day ranges from 40 to 50 miles of rollerblading, spanning anywhere from four to five hours. “My longest day was 11 hours, but that was because of the hills through Wyoming,” Lempko explained, adding that recently he did 74 miles in one day, that took nine hours.
Nutrition also plays a huge factor. “I eat a huge breakfast and a huge dinner,” Lempko said. “I also eat ice cream at least twice a day.”
To follow Lempko on his journey, please visit his website, www.mikeonblades.com. There you can track his whereabouts and even donate to the cause. You can also follow him on Facebook and Instagram. Ninety percent of the donations go to No Kid Hungry and 10 percent go toward Lempko’s trip; any dollar donated will make a difference.