Cyclists from across the nation to stop in Muleshoe on Journey of Hopewebmaster July 3, 2019 0 COMMENTS
BY GAIL M. WILLIAMS
Muleshoe Journal Correspondent
The whir and flash of bicycle spokes will be heard and seen coming into Muleshoe this Friday as 20 young men continue on The Journey of Hope.
Members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity from colleges from Vermont to California, including one Texas Christian business student, are continuing a trek that has been raising funds and awareness for people with disabilities since 1977.
The mission of The Ability Experience is to use shared experiences to support people with disabilities and develop the men of Pi Kappa Phi into servant leaders.
“We stop at different camps,” said Austin Cartee, Marketing and Public Relations Intern for The Ability Experience. “Yesterday, we stopped at a camp in Albuquerque. We make our mark anyplace we can.”
The fraternity men will also stop in Roswell, N.M., before coming to Muleshoe, where Nancy Kidd is sponsoring a dinner for them. Cartee said Kidd has been hosting the group for about 27 years.
Following the Muleshoe stop, the men will move on to Terrell State Hospital. The team and their support staff average 75 miles per day at distances ranging from 45 to 125 miles, depending on conditions including weather, mountains and altitude.
“There was a big hailstorm in New Mexico,” Cartee said. “One guy from UNC in Charlotte, said it was hailing a little when he was riding.”
Each team member has pledged to raise at least $6,000 in donations.
The journey began at a training camp in Santa Barbara, California. They are scheduled to reach The Capitol in Washington, D.C., by Aug. 10. About seven or eight days off from cycling are factored in.
The Journey of Hope South team will ride more than 4,370 miles over the course of three months, supporting people with disabilities with community events, advocacy presentations and grants to select organizations across the country.
Back in 1977 when The Journey of Hope began, there were no aids such as cell phones or GPS devices. Today’s group rides sturdy road bikes with safety lights front and back that show up both day and night as well as light anklets and safety triangles.
“A lot of fundraising and sponsorship went into that equipment,” Cartee said.
The group includes some graduates and post-graduates as well as underclassmen who are taking the trip for the second time. One cyclist who earlier made a similar trip across the length of Florida is making his second trip of the summer.
“They go on the trip not only for the sights but for the interaction with the people they’re helping,” Cartee said. “What they’re showing them is not so much sympathy, but empathy. For a lot of guys, taking this trip makes their summer.”
The Ability Experience is the national philanthropy of Pi Kappa Phi. Along with the Journey of Hope, The Ability Experience also builds amenities at camps for people with disabilities and host events with local partners at Pi Kappa Phi’s 185 chapters across the country. Founded in 1977, the Ability Experience is committed to raising funds and public awareness on behalf of people with disabilities. Combined with corporate sponsorships, the 2019 Journey of Hope will raise more than $750,000 for people with disabilities across the nation.
For more information on The Ability Experience and The Journey of Hope, visit www.abilityexperience.org/media.