Unlike the average teenager, who probably spent most of his or her summer at the mall or on Instagram, Charlie Doherty opted to go for a bike ride. Although this might seem like an ordinary activity for any English 13-year-old, his trip was both gargantuan and altruistic because Charlie led a group of peers on a 1,250-mile trek across Northern Europe to raise money for a charity that provides food for impoverished children.
Charlie and four others, including his mom Julie and Uncle Bunny, spent three weeks in July and August weaving their way from Amsterdam to Krakow, Poland.
"The first day was the worst day. We had been up since 2am having flown from Gatwick to Amsterdam,” Charlie recounted to his hometown paper the Crawley News. "I really struggled as my muscles hadn't loosened up. And we had lots of problems – mum's axle was bent which made it hard for her to pedal. It was so tough.”
It’s an admirable mission for anyone, let alone a kid, that’s made even more impressive given Charlie’s long history of humanitarian deeds. In 2004, a 4-year-old Charlie opted to give away his Christmas money to help people in Indonesia after a massive tsunami struck the country. He has continued to participate in fundraiser every year since he was 6, and his deeds have been featured in the BBC and a short documentary (below).
To keep expenses to a minimum, the team of cyclist/drifters slept in people’s garages and gardens along the way. Sometimes riding up to 90 miles in a single day, the team only paid for sleeping quarters three times along the way.
This austerity meant the majority of the money that Charlie raised online — 34,000 British pounds ($54,000) — could be donated to Mary’s Meals, an international charity that “sets up school feeding projects in communities where poverty and hunger prevent children from gaining an education”.