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Former Spartans players ride for great cause

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

If you have some time today, check out Joe Rexrode's excellent story in the Lansing State Journal about former Michigan State player John Shinsky, who's on a mission to build an orphanage in the poverty-stricken city of Matamoros, Mexico.

Shinsky, who spent much of his own childhood in an orphanage, will embark on a 2,000-mile bike ride to raise the $500,000 needed to finish the orphanage in Mexico. His route begins at Spartan Stadium during halftime of Michigan State's spring game on Saturday and will end in Matamoros.

Two of Shinsky's former Michigan State teammates, NFL Hall of Famer Joe DeLamielleure and Eljay Bowron, the former head of the United States Secret Service, will accompany him on the bike ride.

From Rexrode's story:

They remember Shinsky as a freshman at MSU, declaring in 123 East Wilson Hall that he would some day build a place for children.

"Forty years later, we're riding on a bike to this guy's orphanage," DeLamielleure said. "Do you know how unbelievable that is to me? It's like make-believe.

"If you knew John as a freshman in college, you wouldn't believe what he is now. He's a miracle. No one can explain what John is."

He is an orphan, an educator, a doctor and a cancer survivor. He is regarded as one of the toughest football players to come through MSU.

Mostly, he's a man who has no doubts about why he's here.

Shinsky sounds like a very tough dude -- his own backstory is fascinating -- and he's doing a lot to give back to the needy kids in Matamoros. He's already raised about $800,000 for the project.

For more information, check out Shinsky's orphanage and his fundraiser Web site.