Sports

Triathlete heads out to Save the Children with PCH ride

Proving that one man can make a difference, a 36-year-old attorney is taking a solo journey bicycling from Canada to Mexico to raise money for a children’s charity.

Don Sakaida, an attorney from Los Angeles and the son of local triathlete Patricia Buchanan of Langley, began his journey at the Peace Arch border crossing in Canada Saturday and will end his trek in Mexico in early August.

Sakaida has been an attorney for 10 years in Los Angeles. He set a fundraising goal of $10,000, and to date he has raised $6,000.

He stopped at his mother’s home for the Fourth of July.

Sakaida said he is motivated by a desire to ride the Pacific coast and to help others.

“Riding my bike down the Pacific Coast Highway has always been a goal of mine. I have wanted to do it since I was a child driving down the coast with my mother from Seattle to Los Angles and seeing so many people on their bicycles along the way.”

From that time on, it became a life goal. But Sakaida also wanted his ride to have purpose: to help others less fortunate.

“I wanted to give something back,” he said.

Sakaida talked to a number of his favorite charities before deciding on “Save the Children.”

“Not many times are we presented with an opportunity to pursue our life’s dreams. I feel blessed to have that opportunity now.”

Headquartered in Westport, Conn., Save the Children is an international nonprofit, non-sectarian development organization that serves children and families in more than 40 of the poorest areas in the world, including impoverished rural areas in the Unites States.

“We appreciate his generous spirit and intent to reach out and help children and families who are in great need,” said Peg Blackburn, relationship manager for Save the Children.

“Updates on my progress will be posted on www.donniesakaida.com,” Sakaida said.

The money he raises will be enough to sponsor at least one child for the entire time that child is in the Save the Children program. Usually the interest and proceeds alone from the investment are enough to sponsor the child, then the principal funds can be invested for another children.

“I hope to sponsor at least two children,” he said.

Eighteen months ago he made the momentous decision to leave his law practice, at least temporarily, while he prepared for the ride.

“I stopped accepting new clients and finished my active cases,” he said.

Sakaida even turned in his Mercedes.

Although some of his friends thought he was crazy for giving up a successful law practice, his family understood. His fellow athletes in the family include his mother, sister and brother-in-law.

All four have competed in Whidbey’s Tri the Rock.

“We always planned to ride the coast as a family,” Buchanan said. “But we could never get all our schedules together. Donnie got tired of waiting for the rest of us.”

Family members and friends are offering support along the way, meeting up with him at different locations and following him along the route in support vehicles. He expects to roll into Tijuana, Mexico on Aug. 5.

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