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September 21, 2023

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Senior bicycles across country, raises disability awareness with fraternity members

Senior Cory Huber embarked on a 4,000 mile journey this summer, on a bicycle.

The trip started in Seattle and ended 75 days later in Washington D.C. as Huber and members of his fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, rode through weather ranging from 32 degrees in rain to hot sunny days in order to raise awareness for people with disabilities. The 26th annual voyage is known as the “Journey of Hope” hosted by the nonprofit organization Push America, which the fraternity founded and first hosted in 1987.

Huber flew out with his KHS Flight 300 bicycle to Seattle in June and met 26 other members of his fraternity from throughout the country. The trip consisted of biking an average of 85 miles a day and sleeping in churches, gym floors, college residence halls and hotels. Each night, the group met up with an organization for dinner to spend time with those who have disabilities by doing activities such as wheelchair basketball and arts and crafts.

Huber said he never crashed on his bike, but the trip itself wasn’t easy, whether it was dealing with flat tires on a daily basis or having to go to the emergency room to get a beetle drained out of his ear that burrowed its way in from sleeping on a gym floor.

“It made me appreciate what I have at home that many people don’t,” Huber said. “We had no one break a bone or go home. We had a really safe team and it was really cool.”

Huber said the trip changed him because he realized he takes too many things for granted and to have patience. Interacting with the clients with disabilities each night was a great feeling because you were having an impact on their lives, he said.

“We rode from Montana to Idaho to Wyoming in one day and a lot of guys had to stop because of hypothermia and they were getting sick and I felt terrible, but I realized that I was going to finish no matter what,” Huber said. “You get burnt out after a while but there’s a greater purpose to it, which were the people.”

President of Pi Kappa Phi, Alex Dudek, was a part of the support team during the trip and was in charge of making sure the riders were safe and planning where to stop for the next night. He said the trip changed him personally.

“For 75 straight days we were just interacting with these people and most people don’t do any of that during their lives,” Dudek said. “It’s something I want to continue doing for the rest of my life.”

Andrew Matznick, director of team services for Push America, said the members of the organization were able to raise $520,000 to help increase awareness for people with disabilities. We just want to be there for the clients, he said.

“A lot of times people with disabilities are overlooked or stereotyped,” Matznick said. “We want to give them the opportunity to show off who they are as a person.”

As the riders biked into Washington D.C. to end the journey, Huber said approximately 1,000 people were there to watch.

“We all started breaking down a bit because we were so happy,” Huber said. “We reached our goal. It was euphoric.”

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