A group of fraternity members of Pi Kappa Phi, who came together from chapters across the country, are cycling the whole distance in order to raise money for people suffering from physical and mental disabilities. They number about 26 cyclists and 9 crew members, and are participating in The Ability Experience’s Journey of Hope. One of them is a member of UNL’s chapter and said the journey so far hasn’t been too bad.
“A little stiffness, a little sore,” Nick Murdakes, a UNL chemical engineering student, said. Murdakes and his brothers are a little more than halfway through their journey, an adventure that’s supposed to take about 67 days. They bike anywhere from 30-to-100 miles in a single day, through valleys and over peaks, meeting with locals at each place they stop. Sometimes, like in Lincoln, they throw a dance party for people with disabilities. And sometimes, as Murdakes can personally confirm, some might get their head shaved and colored to look like a pineapple at a camp in Colorado. He’s got the photo evidence.
“The hardest part is just leaving the people you’ve met,” Murdakes said. “It’s nice because I’m back [in Lincoln] and I might see some of the familiar faces I’ve served in my time at the fraternity.” Their challenge may sound crazy, but, it’s one his fraternity has been doing for years. “We’re riding to make friendships and to celebrate the abilities of all people,” Jacob Hruska, a crew member, said, “and I think that we’ve done that. “Every stop we go to we meet people who have hardships, and we get to see and help them sometimes, and show the amazing things that they can do.”