This past summer a record 12 Purdue Pi Kapps participated in the Journey of Hope. Journey of Hope is a cross country cycling trip to raise awareness and spread empathy for people with disabilities. JOH is put on each year by the Ability Experience, a non-profit managed and operated by Pi Kappa Phi. It is split into three routes, the Transamerica, North, and South. They each start in Seattle, San Fransisco, and Long Beach respectively.
After departing, the cyclists would ride an average of 75 miles per day, with the summer totaling anywhere from 3,500 to 4,300 miles. The team members wake up early each morning, get on their bikes, and ride until around 1pm. They then participate in a “Friendship Visit,” which can range from wheelchair basketball to a dance party with the local Special Olympics.
“The friendship visits are one of the most amazing parts of the summer. We had one even where we went to a waterpark with kids with special needs. I was paired with a young boy with autism, who at first was terrified of the water slides. Over the course of the day I got to watch him overcome his fear and at the end of the day I practically had to drag him away from the slides.” said Greg Bandy, North Route.
This past summer, Journey of Hope raised a total of $615,000 for people with disabilities. Of this, $65,350 were raised directly by Purdue brothers. In comparison to other Purdue fraternities, this is the most dollars raised in one year, let alone a summer. This is thanks in part to donations from our alumni base as well as unrivaled support from our parents.
Of the 12 who participated in 2016, 10 were cyclists, one was a crew member, and one was a project manager. Mike McBride, the project manager for the Trans-american route was tasked with planning the trip all spring semester then leading the team all summer. He lived in Charlotte for all of the spring prior to JOH then remained in contact with sponsors all summer while leading the Trans route to one of the most successful years ever in JOH history. Purdue also sent one brother to Gear up Florida, a 2 week cycling trip across Florida early in the summer.
This marked the second year Purdue has sent double digits to JOH and 5 brothers are already signed up for the 2017 ride.