Despite weathering conditions mimicking all four seasons, fraternity members successfully completed their annual 72-hour memorial bike-a-thon at Purdue from Oct. 9-12.
More than 300 man hours took place during the 3-day event whereby chapter members and alumni took turns riding one of three stationary bikes or sitting at a donation table at the base of the belltower in the middle of the Purdue campus. The event raised $7,500 for The Ability Experience.
The temperature peaked at nearly 80 degrees on the first day and dropped to 37 the night before the completion. It was almost springtime weather during a 12-hour period where it rained off and on, too.
The bike-a-thon has been held each year in memory of chapter undergraduate David Feltner who died in 2011 from a rare form of childhood cancer. Feltner was very involved with The Ability Experience chapter-level programming throughout his 3 years while at the university. He had hoped to ride in the 2011 Journey of Hope, but died earlier that year. A chapter brother rode his bike during JOH that summer, so his bike made it to the US Capitol lawn.
“Having the opportunity to continue the David Feltner legacy and keep his memory alive at our chapter is important to all of the brothers,” said Campbell Boston, the chapter’s Ability Experience chairman. “An event like this is possible due to all of the hard work and dedication that brothers put in year-round to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.”
Events during the event included “Pie a Pi Kapp” held over a pair of 4-hour periods.
Passersby, along with preplanned “assailants,” could design their own concoction of “pie” ingredients. Options included: Whipped cream, catsup, mayonnaise, chocolate syrup, barbeque sauce or ranch dressing. It cost $2 to have a “pie” toss with one condiment for $1 for each additional.
The Pie a Pi Kapp portion raised $570 itself.
Six campus sororities supported the cause with teams that shared 25 minutes of bike riding time that competed for distance. Phi Mu completed 7.2 miles in its allotted time, followed closely by Alpha Gamma Delta’s 7.1 miles.
A local TV station did a live news broadcast from the scene, too. The broadcast can be seen at:
The chapter did two Facebook Live broadcasts from the scene with the Friday, 1-hour lunchtime show having nearly 1,500 views.
A second Facebook Live broadcast was made for the last half hour of the event.
Feltner’s parents who have been able to ride the last 5 minutes of the memorial to their late son 7 times over the 9-year run, kept close tabs on the events from Alaska where they were visiting their daughter’s family and their grandchildren. This year, as was the case last, some of Feltner’s pledge brothers returned to ride the last 15 minutes of the bike-a-thon.
The Feltners were touched that the chapter members, who didn’t even know their son, continue this tradition.
“Their attitude is making a big difference for everyone they touch,” Candy Feltner, David’s mother, wrote in a message to the chapter members. “We have some wonderful memories of David at the fraternity with all his brothers. It’s wonderful that some of the brothers from when David was there helped finish the event. Thank you!”
You can still support the chapter’s fund-raising efforts at:
The Purdue fraternity has raised nearly $15,000 during 2019 to support The Ability Experience.