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Health

Former New Lenox resident planning second ride for a different nonprofit

Last year, former New Lenox resident Tracy Sefcik biked a  a 3,042-mile journey to raise $30,680 for Gary Sinise Foundation in an event she called "Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets." She's planning a second ride for the Oscar Mike Foundation, which helps disabiled veterans.
Last year, former New Lenox resident Tracy Sefcik biked a a 3,042-mile journey to raise $30,680 for Gary Sinise Foundation in an event she called "Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets." She's planning a second ride for the Oscar Mike Foundation, which helps disabiled veterans.

Earlier this year, U.S. Navy veteran and former New Lenox resident Tracy R. Sefcik raised $30,680 for Gary Sinise Foundation in an event she called "Cross Country Cycle 4 Vets."

According to a May Herald-News story, Sefcik raised the money biking from San Diego to St. Augustine, Florida. She rode 49 of the 61 days she was gone, about 65 to 75 miles a day, a 3,042-mile journey that took two years to plan.

In the Herald-News story, Sefcik said she took most of this journey alone, although she has her own health issues.

Sefcik said in The Herald-News story her fundraiser was a way for her to help fellow veterans and first responders, her personal thank you for their "sacrifices and commitments."

Sefcik now is raising money for another veterans cause: Oscar Mike, which Sefcik said she found on Facebook. In a news release, Sefcik said Oscar Mike "One the Move" was founded by Illinoisan Noah Currier, a Marine who fought in Iraq.

She said after Currier returned home, he was in a car accident. He is paralyzed from the neck down, Sefcik said in a news release.

"I looked into this foundation, called Noah on the phone and told myself this was going to be my next big bike ride," Sefcik said in her news release. "I loved what Noah has done and his commitment to his fellow brothers and sisters."

Sefcik said this new self-funded tour will take her through 10 states, two countries and 2,547 miles across the U.S. Her goal is to raise $50,000.

"I will be leaving from Lake Forest, heading north to the Upper Peninsula, then east through Canada, then into New York down to New York City at the Freedom Tower Memorial on Sept. 11, 2021, for the 20th anniversary of 9/11 then heading west though the rolling hills of Pennsylvania and finally finish in Chicago," Sefcik said in her news release.

"This day holds many memories for me and our military members and this ride is dedicated to all that have served in our military and for those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. I had to get our men and women 'On the Move' again."

In the release, Sefcik said she grew up in New Lenox, attended Providence High School and then joined the Navy, where she served for four years.

After book camp in Orlando, Sefcik was stationed in Yokosuka, Japan, aboard the USS Kittanning. She also served in Coronado, California, according to the release.

"I come from a very long line of military members," Sefcik said in the release. "To mention a few, a fourth great-grandfather in the Revolutionary War, a second great-grandfather in the Civil War, an uncle in World War II at Iwo Jima.

"My uncle Adam Tymowicz was shot down over France during World War II only to be MIA in the Korean War, and my father Thomas being in the Navy on the USS Courtney and me following in his footsteps."

According to the Oscar Mike website, Oscar Mike has a 9,000 square foot facility located on a 210-acre lake just east of Rockford. This fully accessible home has 17 beds, an adaptive weight-training room and outdoor sports court.

This serves as the home base for the Oscar Mike Militia – an all-veteran wheelchair rugby team – and weekly programming of "no less than nine rigorous, heart pumping activities," which are adapted to the veterans' capabilities, according to the website.

These programs include basic nutrition, meal planning and grocery shopping; adaptive workouts in the weight training room; flight lessons in a Cessna with guidance from an instructor; UTV driving a Polaris RZR 1000 off-road vehicle adapted with hand-controls, according to the website.

Other programs include firearm shooting using custom rifles on a known distance range; kayaking, paddling boarding and fishing from the 260-foot of lakefront access; equestrian therapy at BraveHearts Therapeutic Riding; skydiving out Skydive Midwest or iFly Chicago; adaptive triathlon to include a swim/kayak, cycle or hand cycle, and run/push, with distances determined by the athlete's abilities, according to the website.

For more information, visit www.crosscountrycycle4vets.com and www.oscarmike.org.

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