Team of Cyclists “Push America” to Help the Disabled

Volunteers and children at a recent “Push America” gathering.

This past Monday, a team of cyclists participating in the “Journey of Hope” arrived in Roanoke as part of a nine-week, 4000-mile cycling event across the country to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

The trip began June 8 in Seattle and is about to wrap up Saturday August 13 in Washington DC.

The team had a “Friendship Visit” and dinner with the Down Syndrome Association of Roanoke on Monday and on Tuesday enjoyed a dinner and Visit with Easter Seals.

 Journey of Hope is a program of  “Push America,” the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, which raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities.

The Journey of Hope team consists of men from Pi Kappa Phi chapters across the country. The team has been cycling an average of 75 miles per day, beginning in San Francisco and Seattle and ending in Washington, D.C. on August 13.

Simply put, Push America serves people with disabilities. They were founded on the premise that people with disabilities are no different than people without disabilities, and it is the organization’s vision to raise the level of awareness about people with disabilities. Journey of Hope is a vehicle for them to achieve this goal.

At stops across the country, the three routes (North, South and TransAmerica—the one stopping in Roanoke) will distribute grants directly to assist organizations in serving people with disabilities. For the team, the real journey is not on a bike, but spending time with the people for whom they are riding.

The Journey of Hope team members will spend every afternoon with people with disabilities in many different community events and activities. These men are striving for community inclusion of people with disabilities and are helping to break the barriers of society that keep people of all abilities from living life to the fullest.

Axel Holm, Public Relations Crew Member (TransAmerica team) is accompanying the riding team as a support member, and participates in all the social events at each stop. The guys really get to know and spend time with people with disabilities, and gain an understanding of the challenges they face.

The crew was having lunch at Corned Beef & Company Tuesday afternoon. Holm said they had been up to Mill Mountain Zoo—the river otters were a big hit—and “drove up next to the Star [in time] to see the city’s sunset.”

Holm said “This is the furthest east I have ever been and I am very happy to be here. Roanoke is great.” He reflected on the time he has been spending with people with disabilities all across the country, and the impact it has had on his life, saying it has changed “the way I handle my everyday life—[I realize] I have no reason to be upset.”

Push America was founded in 1977. With the combined efforts of sponsors and individual team members, this year’s Journey of Hope will raise more than $550,000 on behalf of people with disabilities.

Visit www.pushamerica.org for more information.

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