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  HCA Alumnus Participates in Major West Coast Pro-Life Event

While HCA students traveled to Washington, D.C. for the 2011 March for Life, one HCA alumnus stood up for life in San Francisco at the seventh annual Walk for Life. Nick van Lieshout (HCA Class of 2010), is currently a freshman at John Paul the Great Catholic University in San Diego. He is studying media and plans on graduating in just three years through an accelerated program. Last year, Nick and his cousin Mark van Lieshout shot, produced and directed HCA’s latest promotional video. Nick describes his first Walk for Life here:

On January 22 – the 38th anniversary of the tragic Roe v. Wade decision – I had the privilege to stand up for the rights of the unborn. For the previous six years, I had traveled with my former Holy Cross Academy classmates to the March for Life in Washington, D.C. This year, as a freshman at San Diego’s John Paul the Great Catholic University, I attended my first Walk for Life in San Francisco. About forty people from the school attended the event, which the school has sponsored every year since its founding.

While you may think these events are as different as East Coast and West Coast weather, they do share a number of similarities. In a city where the simple definition of marriage is constantly being debated, it’s refreshing to see so many individuals bear witness to the fundamental values of life and family. An estimated fifty thousand people attended the event, a stark contrast to the hundred or so counter-protesters. While the overall attendance is smaller than the D.C. March, the Walk for Life is only in its seventh year. So that’s quite an accomplishment.

What impressed me the most about the Walk was the amount of work put into it. Everywhere you looked, there were banners, posters, and t-shirts celebrating life. Pro-life speakers from all over the country addressed the crowds (although we couldn’t hear them from where we were standing). And the streets we walked were cleaned and cleared for us to use.

In addition to attending the Walk, a number of my fellow JP Catholic students helped organize and run a youth rally located at the end of the protest, where our own theology professor, Dr. Michael Barber, spoke to the thousands gathered. While I couldn’t attend the rally, I have only heard good things about it!

During our two day visit, our group was able to take some time and explore the “City by the Bay.” It’s a surreal moment when all you have to do is look across the water and you can see Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. But no matter how fast you run up and down the hills of San Francisco (trust me, there are a lot), you never have enough time to see everything!

But as we all know, half the adventure in these trips is in the journey getting there and back home, and this year was no exception. On the way to San Francisco, our bus broke down in the middle of nowhere due to a busted pipe, turning an eight hour drive into a fifteen hour excursion. So what are a bunch of media students suppose to do on the edge of the desert for four hours? Well, take pictures and videos of course!

Overall, I can say the experience was worth all the delays, the aching feet, and a sore back. I’ll probably be returning to the Walk for Life next year and I encourage everyone to support the pro-life movement by taking part in these events, both in Washington D.C. and San Francisco.