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One mile at a time: Cashmere 5-year-old is on a quest to change the world

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Riley Acheson of Cashmere is racking up miles on her bicycle to raise money to build a hospital in a Third-World country. She is accepting per-mile pledges for every mile she records until July 25.

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My 5-year-old daughter Riley is raising $35,000 to build a hospital for those in need this summer, by riding her bike and getting people to make a pledge for every mile she rides before July 25.

She needs 350 people to pledge $1 a mile to make it happen.

Two years ago, her Dad, Jacob, rode with an organization called Venture Expeditions on a tour from Seattle to New York. They rode across the country in eight weeks to raise money and support against human injustice (human trafficking and slavery). I told Riley that daddy was gone because he was riding to help others. You could say she sort of caught the vision … that you can help others just by sacrificing yourself.

So for her fifth birthday, she didn’t want a party. She wanted to ride 10 miles on her bike to help people get clean water, and that’s what she did! She raised over $430 to donate to the Blood Water mission project.

Recently Riley was really sick with double ear infections. She was screaming and crying with pain as her little body was fighting the infection with a massive fever. She had to wait a few hours for the next available doctor, but when she did she got medicine and pain relief within the hour. She was able to rest and sleep thanks to the medicine and nearby clinic.

When she was helping get her medicine bottles out of the fridge she dropped the bottle and the antibiotic spilled all over the floor.

Well, that’s OK. We can just get more, right mom?” she asked.

No sweetie. It doesn’t work like that with medicine,” I told her. “It’s very hard and expensive to and so you can’t just get medicine when you want. Most people in the world don’t have access to medicines to make them feel better.”

Well can’t they just go to the doctor and get more?” she asked again.

No sweetie, most people in the world don’t have a doctor to go to. They don’t have hospitals like we do,” I said.

They don’t???” she said with the most heartfelt and saddest puppy dog eyes ever.

She was crushed and changed all at the same time. Her little mind was just blown.

Well, can’t we raise money to get the kids a hospital?” she asked.

Well, yes, but it costs a lot of money!” I told her.

Well, how much money? Can we look it up online?” she asked.

Riley and Mom did the research and a group called Samaritan’s Purse can build a hospital or new wing in an existing hospital for $35,000 in countries with little to no medical resources. According to the site, more than 6.5 million children under the age of 5 die each year from diseases that can be treated or prevented with medical care.

Can we build a hospital mom?? Please?! Wouldn’t that be awesome?!” Riley said.

She may not know how much $35,000 is, but that won’t stop her from raising it. She is asking anyone and everyone she knows to help.

You can make a pledge at

Whitney Acheson lives in Cashmere with her husband Jacob and their two children.