When we at MTBVT first heard about the fundraising project Mojo for Mikaela we immediately sent in a donation and our well wishes. But then we wanted to know a bit more about Mikaelaâ€™s story, specifically her relationship to biking. So we contacted family friend Tom Dacres and he put together the following piece for us. Read, enjoy, and then pony up for Mikaela.
By Tom Dacres
Mikaela Sienkiewicz is a13-year-old resident of Burlington, VT who was born with Autosomal Recessive Polycystic Kidney Disease (ARPKD) and Congenital Hepatic Fibrosis (CHF). She is presently waiting for a life-saving liver and kidney transplant and we are fundraising to help with surgical costs.
Iâ€™ve known Mikaelaâ€™s family since 2005 when her dad Mike, my neighbor Peter, and I met while I was coaching Mikaelaâ€™s brother Luke in Burlington Youth Football. I eventually hung up my coaching whistle to bike more, convinced Peter to get off his road bike and try mountain biking and soon the three of us were hooked. We now ride all the time. And I mean all the time (12 months of the year).
When Mikaelaâ€™s condition continued to spiral downwards, the family and their friends started the fundraising efforts. I was asked to help and my first thought was to get the local biking community involved. (Mike, Peter, and I are all members of The Fellowship Of The Wheel (FOTW) and other bike clubs and participate in most of the local events.)
I also thought of doing a bike raffle. Now, I ride an Ibis Mojo and I love it. Ibis Cycles is a small boutique company in Santa Cruz, CA and their customer service is second to none. Scot Nicol, the founder of the company, regularly answers customer’s emails personally. I sent Scot an email request and he answered within a day! He said heâ€™d like to help with the raffle and was willing to donate a Carbon Fiber Mojo SL frame. He then gave me contacts at SRAM and Fox to solicit the rest of the parts. I soon had all three manufacturers on board and just needed the wheels and other misc. parts. I reached out to iRide in Stowe and Ron didnâ€™t hesitate, saying theyâ€™d be more than happy to receive and assemble the bike. Next, I spoke to the Skirack and Earls Cyclery and the next thing I knew I had an entire bike, valued at $5,000.00, for free, to raffle off for Mikaelaâ€™s transplant-related expenses.
My wife and I created the website and then I contacted FOTW, the Vermont Mountain Biking Association, Brewster River Mountain Bike Club and MTBVT.com to help with the marketing. Everyone agreed and were more than happy to promote the raffle. Ibis is also marketing the raffle through the internet, Facebook, websites, blogs, etc. The support has been overwhelming. Weâ€™ve received donations from all over the world including Sweden, Germany and Brazil! As of this writing, we have raised over $9,000.00 and we still have four weeks before the drawing on April 29th.
It’s a truly spectacular thing to watch, the biking community coming together to help out one of their own, in their time of need. â€œMojo for Mikaelaâ€ has taken on a life of its own and we hope the positive vibes from the biking community help Mikaela and her family.
We’d sure appreciate it if you help us help Mikaela. All funds raised go to her transplant fund. Nobody makes any money on this raffle. You do a good thing, and who knows, maybe you’ll win a bike. Check out www.mojoformikaelas.com for more info.