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Memory of freshman sparks idea for Waco Bikes for Kids

Dec. 1, 2000

Charity will donate to local needy children

By BRANDI DEAN

Reporter

Members of the Catholic Student Center will be assembling Christmas bikes for local children tonight as part of the first Waco Bikes for Kids program in memory of Jillian McFadden, the Omaha, Neb., freshman who died in a car wreck Oct. 19.

Bikes for Kids is the charity of Insession, the software company of McFadden's father, James McFadden. It was started in 1997 when Insession donated 10 bicycles to be distributed to needy families. This year, to establish the new memorial chapter of the charity in Waco, employees of Insession donated more than $3,000 to buy 72 bicycles and 12 tricycles in addition to the 141 bikes that have been donated in Omaha so far.

Mr. McFadden said the project was a form of stewardship for his family that had been special to his daughter, and he said when he found the Catholic Student Center was looking for a project, Bikes for Kids sounded perfect.

'As a family, we had always sponsored Christmas families, and a few years ago, we decided we could do a little bit more,' McFadden said. 'My kids have been pretty involved all along, and Jillian had been very touched by Bikes for Kids.'

The bikes were bought in Omaha and shipped to Toys 'R Us in Waco where representatives of the Catholic Student Center picked them up. One hundred and twenty members of the student center will be putting the bikes together throughout the weekend.

Renee Santos, president of the Catholic Student Association, said she thought the project was a good way to give by volunteering time during the Christmas season.

'That memory of Christmas time when you get a bike is special and should be available to the less fortunate,' the Corpus Christi sophomore said.

When assembled, the bikes will be distributed to children as Christmas presents by McLennan County police officers in positions to identify deserving families and distribute them evenly. Bike officers will also be giving their assistance with the assembly of the bikes. In addition, the Baylor police are looking into reconditioning confiscated and abandoned bikes from campus; however, it's not clear yet if that will be possible.

Students in South Russell Residence Hall, where McFadden lived, also decided to do their part in honoring McFadden. South Russell's division of the Baylor Executive Association of Residents held a 'penny war.' Those living in South Russell raised about $200 that they put toward bikes to donate to the Catholic Student Center's effort. Anne Cioletti, a Pearland freshman and president of the South Russell B.E.A.R., said they chose to do this because it was a cause that was very important to McFadden.

'Jillian wanted to start this [in Waco] and never had a chance,' Cioletti said. 'It was a dream of hers. We just want to do this for all these kids who wouldn't get bikes any other way.'