Brownsburg man biking for a cause

He’s biking for a cause. Starting in San Francisco on June 12 and planning to finish in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 13, Bandy is biking across the country for Journey of Hope.

The largest fraternal fundraising awareness event of its kind, Journey of Hope an event put on by The Ability Experience is comprised of members of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. In addition to biking across the country, participants stop and do ‘friendship visits’ with people with disabilities, who the organization raises money for.

This year, Journey of Hope will raise more than half a million dollars for people with disabilities.

“It’s making me very grateful for what I have and how we need to be more accepting and understanding of people,” Bandy said. “I definitely won’t have the same mindset in life when I’m all done with this.”

A student at Purdue University studying biological engineering and pre-med, Bandy is spending his summer with fellow Pi Kappa Pi brothers instead of interning or working during his college break. Prior to taking off, he rode about 1,000 training miles to prepare himself for the cross country ride.

Journey of Hope began in 1988 with 21 men who started cycling from San Diego to D.C. as a philanthropy event and has since continuously grown.

“You can join a fraternity and you can do your service hours volunteering at the YMCA, student center, but what these guys do, they want to actually have that hands on experience,” Murphy Siegel, public relations coordinator for The Ability Experience, said. “A large part of philanthropy, especially in the Greek community that’s overlooked is hands on service.”

There are three routes that have about 30 bikers each that all start on the West Coast and make their way to D.C. Each biker had to fundraise $5,500 prior. With the bikers are a network of volunteers to assist with safety, food, drinks, breaks and anything else that might come up on a cross country journey.

Although the biking is a huge part of the overall experience, the real magic happens when the bikers stop for friendship visits. Nearly every day, the bikers stop to participate in friendship visits with local disability groups.

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