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MBA from UCLA is ‘Pedaling 4 Pets'

August 16, 2001|By JENNIFER RALTON-SMITH, Staff Writer

Less than four months ago, Lutrell Christian purchased his first bike — a $75 job from a local retail store.

Now the MBA from UCLA is riding a high-tech bike designed by Lee Iacocca on a 14-state, 100-day odessy to raise money for homeless pets.

Nearing his 50th birthday, Christian, who has put his degree to good use by working for some of the big names on the Fortune 500 list over the years, decided he wanted to follow his heart and passion and do something that would promote animal welfare. He teamed with St. Louis Cardinal Manager's Tony La Russa's Animal Rescue Foundation and came up with the idea of Pedaling 4 Pets.

Along with his long-term friend Cheryl, who drives the escort vehicle, maintains a steady offering of water bottles and manages the Pedaling 4 Pets Web site (which includes daily trip diary updates), Christian, who hails originally from Virginia, left Santa Monica on July 24, traveling along historic U.S. Route 66. Their travels will take them through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri.

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In Missouri, ARF has planned a reception with La Russa and the Cardinals. Christian will then cycle through Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia, arriving in Washington, D.C., he hopes, by Oct. 20.

On Wednesday Christian rode into the Imperial Valley and stopped for a breather before heading toward Yuma. He hopes to raise more than $1 million for ARF, founded in 1991 by La Russa, then manager of the Oakland A's.

In its first year, ARF placed fewer than 100 animals in permanent homes. Now ARF places more than 1,000 animals each year.

Christian stressed that no donation is "too small." He is particularly hopeful his cycling marathon will attract per-mile sponsorship from animal-friendly corporations, the entertainment community and professional athletes.

You can follow Christian's cross-country progress on a daily basis by logging onto the Web site at http://wwwpedaling4pets.org To make a donation simply call toll-free (800) 567-1ARF or (800) 567-1273 and tell ARF people that you are donating for Christian's Pedaling 4 Pets campaign.

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