“Every child deserves joy”: teacher raises £64,000 to buy bikes for every student at her school

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Sarah Biddlecombe

An inspirational teacher has raised over £64,000 to buy a bike for every one of the students at her school.

Katie Blomquist, who teaches first grade at Pepperhill Elementary School, in South Carolina, raised enough money to buy a brand new bike and accompanying helmet for almost 550 students.

She used a crowdfunding campaign on GoFundMe to raise the money, after speaking to a student who wanted a bike but couldn’t afford one. After initially deciding to try and buy a bike for that one student, she had the idea of buying one for every student in the school – and the campaign snowballed from there.

"I had no idea what I was getting into," she told ABC News.

"And it became a thousand times more amazing than I ever dreamed. I didn't really think about how much would go into it... I wanted to make family memories."

Blomquist with some of her students

Blomquist with some of her students

It took Blomquist less than three months to raise the funds after she received more than 1,000 donations from people around the world.

She then joined forces with Affordabike, a local bike shop, to design the cycles. 

After seven months, the bikes – adorably named “The future, let’s go places” – were ready to go, and Blomqist surprised the students with an unveiling of their new wheels in the school playground yesterday.

The bikes being unveiled at the school

The bikes being unveiled at the school

“This is a chance for them to truly own something of value,” Blomqist said of her students, who mostly come from low-income families.

“It's a sense of therapy ... It's exercise. It's a way of getting to school ... But the number-one thing is it's joy ... Every single child deserves that.”

You can watch the full video, from ABC News, below.

Images: ABC News


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Sarah Biddlecombe

Sarah Biddlecombe is an award-winning journalist and Digital Features Editor at Stylist

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