July 25, 2021

Brandon Hosts Cross-County Cyclists Raising Awareness For People With Disabilities

Nicole McCardle

What’s the furthest you’ve gone to support a cause? Would it be anywhere close to 3,663 miles? No?
Me either.

But, that’s exactly what the young men cycling for The Ability Experience are doing.

The riders introduce themselves to the audience
The riders line up to introduce themselves to the audience

The Ability Experience is the philanthropic program of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. One specific initiative of The Ability Experience is a project called Journey of Hope. Journey of Hope is a collection of over 100 young men from all over the county who come together, bike across the USA, and celebrate people with disabilities along the way.

Along the journey, they raise funds and partner up with a specific foundation at each location. This allows the groups to build relationships and share fun experiences with people with disabilities. While in central Mississippi, they will be visiting The Mustard Seed in Flowood, MS.

They cycled into the Brandon Amphitheatre on July 24 (day 38) and were greeted with a refreshing sprinkle of rain, fresh off the vine watermelon, peaches, plums, king cake, and – most excitedly – laundry machines.

One of the crew members explained that “we’ve been staying at churches, gym floors, a couple of hotels with four to a room sometimes, tutor rooms, stuff like that.”

“This is definitely one of the cooler places to be at”, he said. Talking about staying at the indoor facility at the Brandon Amphitheatre.

Payton Ware with is family upon arrival
Payton Ware with is family upon arrival

One of the riders, Payton Ware, is a Mississippi local from Hattiesburg.

His family drove from Florence to surprise him at their destination.

Payton saw them as he pulled up and said, “I was so surprised because they weren’t supposed to be here until tonight.”

With over half of their journey complete, they will be riding though Alabama next, then Georgia, South and North Carolina, Virginia, and finally will complete the event in Washington, DC.

But before they head out tomorrow, they will be making one more very important stop for a rider who has never had a southern staple: Waffle House. Welcome to the South, guys!

You can support Journey of Hope by donating at https://abilityexperience.org/support/

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