From Scotland to The Netherlands, TCU fraternity members are raising thousands of dollars and awareness of people with disabilities with a 1,000 mile bike ride across Europe.
Junior Jay Baumgardner and seniors Hunter Sprague and Addison White, members of TCU’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, expect to finish a 16-day bike ride for Push America on Tuesday.
Push America is a national non-profit organization for Pi Kappa Phi, Sprague said. Its goal is to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities, as well as spread a message of acceptance and understanding of people with disabilities, Sprague said.
Sprague and his group had fundraising goal of $10,000, but ultimately they collected $14,049.78. Seventy percent of raised funds will go to groups in Europe that serve people with disabilities, Sprague said.
“All of the cyclists and crew members were required to fundraise a minimum of $1,000,” Sprague said. “The majority of funds came from our Executive Sponsor, Asia Broadcast Satellite, that donated $5,000 to our event and without their help, this event would not have been able to happen.”
When I joined Pi Kappa Phi, I was exposed to Push America, and began to volunteer my time regularly at KinderFrogs,” Sprague said.
Through his fraternity, Sprague also learned of an event called Journey of Hope. Journey of Hope is a 67-day, 4,1000 mile bike ride across the United States that raises funds and awareness for people with disabilities. Sprague decided to participate in the ride after his sophomore year and wanted to make it into something even more, he said.
“I decided I wanted to continue to expand Push America's message of acceptance and understanding of people with disabilities,” Sprague said. “During the planning process, the entire team decided we should honor the children at KinderFrogs by dedicating this ride to them, and we wear their logo on our jerseys.”
Planning the event proved difficult for the members of Pi Kappa Phi, but after putting hard work into organization, all of their efforts paid off, Sprague said.
“We have met with 4 different organizations in the UK, and all experiences were wonderful, Sprague said. “Each group offered a unique service to help serve people with both physical and developmental disabilities.”
The event, which begins in Glasgow, Scotland and goes down through the UK to London, across the English Channel into France, Paris, Belgium and the Netherlands, will present some familiar territory for Sprague.
Sprague lived in Holland for 10 years, from age eight until 18.
“Because I had lived there for so long, I felt that I had a good enough understanding of Europe to create a cycling event there,” Sprague said. “I must admit, I have been wrong on how things work here, and there have been some cultural hiccups. For the most part, though, my understanding of Europe has helped us navigate through the country and interact with the locals.”
Sprague said that he has heard very positive feedback from other chapters of the fraternity and is seeing increasing interest. He hopes for the event to become annual and to have Pi Kappa Phi members across the nation participate in the future.
“I hope that every year the event continues to get better,” Sprague said.