Discover how a grandfather and grandson take on an epic adventure together to raise money for children living in poverty.

Imagine waking up one September morning, putting on your riding gear, grabbing your cycle and embarking on the adventure of a lifetime!

That’s exactly what Mike Jeffs, a keen amateur cyclist and businessman from Queensland, is set to do: cycle all the way across Australia to see children released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

The journey will be even more special because his grandson, Elijah, will be riding beside him.

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“This is an amazing adventure opportunity for a grandfather and grandson to undertake together,” says Mike. “I’m very thankful we are in such a fortunate situation to do it. The ride this year coincides with my 70th birthday and Elijah’s 20th, so there is exactly a 50-year age gap between us.”

Mike and Elijah are part of a team of cyclists riding a gruelling 4,181km across Australia, including the rugged terrain of the Nullabor. Ride for Compassion: Coast to Coast 2021 will start in Perth, WA, on September 18th and finish in Newcastle, NSW, on October 20th.

The riders are undertaking this epic ride to help children around the world who live in poverty. Every child living in poverty is vulnerable, but some are impacted by the most unjust situations: natural disasters, the death of parents, or being struck down themselves by a chronic illness.

The team is aiming to raise $600,000 for vulnerable children, including those affected by the pandemic, and see 150 children around the world sponsored through Compassion Australia.

“The team of cyclists and volunteers are in the final stages of training and preparation,” says Compassion Australia Relationship Manager and participating cyclist Rodney Olsen. “It can often be a real sacrifice to schedule training while still juggling family, work and other commitments. Riders will need to ride around 1,000 kilometres a week during the ride, so training is pretty intense.

“To see so many riders passionate about the cause—and to be supported by churches and individuals across the country—has been so encouraging. Together, we can make a huge difference in these children’s lives.”

This passion is needed now more than ever before. According to the World Bank, around 736 million people live in extreme poverty—and almost half of them are children. Recent reports have found that global extreme poverty has risen in 2020 for the first time in over 20 years as the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the effects of conflict and climate change. As a result, around 97 million additional people are living in poverty, a historically unprecedented increase.

“Poverty is rising around the world, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Rodney.

“But everyday Australians really can make a difference. That’s the heart of the message we want to share as we ride across our magnificent country.”

Mike says that when he asked his grandson to come on the ride, Elijah soon said yes.

“Elijah loves the outdoors and is a natural athlete, so I simply asked him to do it with me. After a lot of thought, he committed to it. We’re both very excited to partake in this adventure of a lifetime.”

Together, Mike and Elijah hope to inspire others to take action to help the world’s most vulnerable children and see them released from poverty in Jesus’ name.

“Hopefully our story will have a positive impact in both raising funds and awareness for the Compassion cause,” says Mike. “At the same time, we want to inspire others to have an adventurous spirit.

You are never too old—or too young—to support and care for others.”

You too can join Mike and Elijah in their efforts to help children living in poverty. You can make a difference in a child’s life by being part of a solution more powerful than poverty.

Together, we can make an impact!

Find out how you can support this epic ride for an epic cause.

Words by Sidhara Udalagama