Journey of Hope makes a pit stop in VicksburgPublished 1:29am Sunday, July 13, 2014
Biking 75 miles every day for two months isn’t the most appealing way to spend your summer months. For many it might sound impossible, but 27 members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity have made it their reality through Journey of Hope. The program, which is currently in its 27th year, takes individuals from the fraternity every year on a summer long coast to coast journey. They started June 6 in Long Beach California, and will reach the finish line in Washington D.C. on August 2. There are three routes on the Journey of Hope: North, South, and Trans America. All three of the routes finish in Washington, D.C. The North route leaves from San Francisco, California, the South route from Los Angeles, California, and the Trans route from Seattle, Washington.
The team on each route consists of 27 cyclists and 10 crewmembers. Cyclists must raise $5,500 to fund their participation and crewmembers must raise $2,500. They hope to raise over $500,000 this year and since 1988 have raised over $15,000,000 on behalf of people with disabilities.
“The hardest part is the physical aspect. Getting up every day on six hours of sleep and biking 75 miles isn’t easy by any means,” said cyclist and University of Southern Mississippi student Dylan Kennedy.
Crewmembers drive the team’s vans and set up water and snack checkpoints every ten miles. The team at 4 p.m. Wednesday arrived at the Vicksburg YMCA to eat and get some rest for the next day.
“It’s still overwhelming. It feels like it started only yesterday. It’s surreal how far we’ve come in distance and as cyclists,” said Nosh Vincent a fraternity member from Dallas.
“We’re all from different chapters. It took some growing pains but not before we had developed a great friendship. The hardest part will be saying goodbye when it’s all over,” said Vincent.
Journey of Hope is put on by Push America, which has two other nationwide events to benefit people with disabilities. One is Build America, which is a six week team event traveling the country promoting accessible recreation. The other event is Gear Up Florida, which is an 800-mile cycling event designed to raise acceptance and awareness for people with disabilities across the state of Florida.