They cycled almost 800 miles, contributed to more than $80 thousand raised to benefit people with disabilities, and most importantly, transformed lives. Four members of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity participated in Gear Up Florida, a project of Push America. Cameron Moises, Jon Lee, Chase Harvey, and Nick Breaux spent two weeks spreading a message of acceptance and understanding on behalf of people with disabilities.
On May 13, this cycling event kicked-off on the shores of Miami, traveled through the Florida orange fields, reached the Gulf coast, passed through Orlando, came back to the Atlantic coast and culminated at the State Capitol in Tallahassee. The 34-man team spread a message of acceptance and understanding to communities in Florida through newspapers, radio and television, civic groups and community leaders, reaching millions of people annually. After each full day of riding, the team stopped for a friendship visit with a local group that supports people with disabilities. Junior Jon Lee said he was humbled by the experience. “This is an opportunity for me to change the lives of thousands with disabilities by hanging out with them and having a great time.” For sophomore Chase Harvey, friendship visits helped him learn about himself. “You never realize what kind of impact a small act of kindness can have,” he said. “To make someone smile from ear to ear is the best feeling in the world.”
Gear Up Florida’s programming is what makes this event so unique. Every event is centered on the mission of the trek. Some days team members will visit three different organizations that support people with disabilities. Seeing the direct impact on the people they raise money for is very emotional for team members. Junior Cameron Moises made a special friend named “Michael” at the Russell Home in Orlando. “Michael has defied all odds by being able to survive with a brain stem the size of a finger nail,” said Moises. “The Russell Home is a life-changing place, that I thank God each day for the opportunity to visit. I know in the future I will contribute to help them spread the word.” Nick Breaux graduated in May. This journey, he said, was the pinnacle of his college career. “I can not think of any better way to start my life after college than by serving others. The impact of our visit on the lives of those with disabilities and on our own is immeasurable.”