The Daily Iowan – Ben Marks
Pi Kappa Phi assistant communications director Jeremy Osborne said the Journey of Hope is entering its 28th year and is designed to raise awareness and donate money to organizations that work with people with mental and physical disabilities.
O’Neill, a UI civil engineering student, said he joined the fraternity his freshman year because of his sister, who has a learning disability. “I wasn’t really into fraternities to begin with,” he said. “But one of the big selling points, especially for my parents, was the philanthropy and helping people with disabilities.”
Nursing student Gacke first became interested when he went on an alternative spring-break trip hosted by Pi Kappa Phi during his freshman year. “I met Pi Kappa Phis from all over the nation who came to serve all over the nation, and I saw the impact we were able to have,” he said.
The pair’s journey will begin on June 3, when they fly to San Francisco to meet 24 other cyclists and 10 crewmembers. From there, the group will travel through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, and other states, averaging around 80 miles a day, with the longest being 125. “I’m nervous about the mountains,” Gacke said. “Day 4 is 95 miles all uphill in the mountains, and everyone says besides the end, that’s the most emotional part of the trip.”