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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 23, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 26Jul00

Summarized by Rosemary Pollock

LDS Youth Begins 500-mile Bicycle Trip To Raise Funds For Memorial Scholarship
Denver CO Post 23Jul00 P2
By Susan Besze Wallace: Denver Post Staff Writer

DENVER, COLORADO -- Blaine Freestone, along with his family, will begin a 500-mile fundraising bike ride that will benefit the recipient of the Arapahoe High School Brent Freestone Memorial Scholarship. At 14 years old, just month's after his brother's 1987 suicide death, Blaine created a $500 scholarship in his memory. It was to be awarded to kids who had done what Brent could not: over come life's obstacles. On August 7, Blaine will begin his journey from Provo's Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where Brent was born, and end his ride at the family's Littleton residence, where he died.

"It's amazing what motivation does for your performance. When I ride I think of Brent, the kids we've been able to help and those who we're going to help," Blaine said. "When friends ride with me and I'm thinking about that, I've blown them away. They know why."

Thirteen years later, Blaine, 26, is married and he and his wife are expecting a baby girl in October. A recent graduate of Brigham Young University, Blaine will start a new job with Pricewaterhouse-coopers in September. The Freestone family is active in their Mormon faith. They believe they will be reunited with Brent one day. But as time passes, Brent's legacy seems more about affirming life than mourning death.

"I know if Brent could say anything about all this he'd want others to learn from what he went through," said mom, Sandy Freestone. "And I'd want to say to parents to seek help early if you see a behaivor problem, mood swings, a learning disability."

Sandy likes to call the scholarship "a gift of hope." Sixteen applicants have been awarded in 12 years. The family reads through the applications together and decides by voting. They look for an applicant with an eye to conquering obstacles. The most recent recipient was 18-year-old Gabriel Lopez.

"My tragedy was the death of my father when I was a sophomore. My grades dropped dramatically, and it took a lot of effort to bring them back up," said Lopez, who will attend Colorado State this fall. "I know about Brent. I have a connection to his family, because of death and all.......I feel very honored."

A $1,000 minimum has been set this year for the Brent Freestone Memorial Scholarship. The Freestone family is doubling it's effort this year. "We're excited about sort of getting back to our roots," Blaine said. In 1988 single dollars fell out of envelopes sealed by 12-year-olds, Blaine recounted.

Blaine has been training hard in preparation for the 500 mile ride and is hoping to find a sponsor for a new road bike, instead of his slower mountain bike for the five to six day trip.

"We learned so much from him," said his mother. "We learned how much unconditional love you can have for a person, even though he caused so much sorrow."


Utah-Colo. bike ride a brother's tribute
Denver CO Post 23Jul00 P2
By Susan Besze Wallace: Denver Post Staff Writer


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