College of Nursing Student Bikes 1,000 Miles with Family, Raises $17,115 for Children in Syria

Posted: November 21, 2016

When College of Nursing junior Maya Husayni’s father asked if she wanted to bike 1,000 miles to raise money for the children of Syria, she didn’t hesitate to say yes.

The Husaynis set up a donation page for friends and family to donate to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a UN program headquartered in New York City that provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries. It aids children of Syria by providing access to drinking water, vaccinations, education, psychological support and winter supplies.

“We have many friends and family members who have been affected by the civil war in Syria and want to help in any way that we can. In return, we will share the tales of our adventure as it unfolds through messages, pictures, and videos,” says the family’s donation page.

Their website also notes the estimated seven million Syrian children in need of humanitarian aid, and more than two million children who have dropped out of school due to the war.

Husayni’s father grew up in Syria, and her grandparents are from there as well. She, her father and older brother pedaled for three weeks in July from Vancouver, Canada to San Francisco, California, to spread awareness about the conflict.

Although they biked for a serious cause, the three of them made sure to have fun along the way. “It was all very unstructured. We’d decide how far we were going to bike the morning we woke up,” Husayni explains.

Husayni also said they often raised awareness for the children in Syria when people stopped to ask what they were doing. They made business cards to make it easy for people to visit their donation website and learn about the cause. “I think it was important to talk to people about what we were doing because many didn’t understand how bad the Syrian conflict is.”

Husayni’s mother and brother tagged along with the trio for the first week. They were greeted with a sweet surprise in Quilcene, Washington—a town with a population of 600 people—when Husayni’s 87-year-old grandma from Georgia walked in to the restaurant where they were eating. She ended up following them in her car to Astoria, Oregon, a tiny town in the northwest corner of the state. “She drove all the way from Georgia to Washington and Oregon and back! She’s crazy!” says Husayni.

Later, when they were crossing the bridge, their entire family was reunited to celebrate their journey. “It was such an awesome moment. We actually biked more than 1,000 miles – the thousand-mile mark was in Point Arena, California.”

Husayni’s compassion for others around the world can also be found right here in the College of Nursing, a likely path considering her older brother and two older sisters attended UK, one of her sisters a graduate of the College. Her mother is also recovery room nurse, and her father is a pediatric cardiologist.

“Because my older sister went here too, I kind of had an idea of what I was getting myself into. I still have all of her notes in my textbooks!”

Husayni will graduate in May 2018 and hopes to pursue a nursing career in pediatrics just like her father.

To visit their donation page, visit