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Bike ride to raise funds, awareness for missing children

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Denton County Sheriff’s Office deputies and other law enforcement will join riders in the inaugural 100k bike ride in Denton County to raise awareness for missing and exploited children.

The event on Friday will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 1 p.m. at Lifetime Fitness, 3100 Churchill Drive in Flower Mound, with stops at Liberty Elementary, McKamy Middle School, Central Elementary and DeLay Middle School, according to a news release. Children will cheer on the riders at each stop along the way, participate in a balloon release to honor missing children and learn about child safety.

The riders, each wearing a pin with the name of a missing child in Texas, will be led by law enforcement officers in a two-by-two procession traveling at about 14 to 16 miles per hour along the course. The Lewisville Fire Department Bagpipe and Drum Corps will send riders off with riders welcomed back with a thank you from Rae Leigh Bradbury, the first child to be rescued by an Amber Alert 16 years ago, according to the release.

Statistics show that an estimated 400,000 children in the U.S. were reported missing in 2013 with more than 44,000 of those children from Texas. Around 9,800 of the children reported missing in Texas were from Dallas, Denton and Tarrant counties.

The Denton County event is the first of its kind organized by the Texas regional office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to raise funds for prevention and education programs as well as honor missing and exploited children.

Major sponsors of the 62-mile ride are American Bank of Commerce, Zoe’s Kitchen and ABC Home & Commercial Services. Participating riders pledge to raise or donate $150, which goes toward prevention education.

“We are riding to raise awareness and to raise funds,”  Kelly Culhane, event organizer and mother of two Flower Mound children, said in a news release.  “Our goal is to establish a North Texas office of the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to keep our children safer on the Internet and in the real world from abduction and sexual exploitation.”

Those interested in participating can still sign up or donate by visiting www.ride.missingkids.com.

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