CHARLESTON, W.Va. — It’s been a summer of discovery for members of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity from colleges and universities across the nation. Members committed themselves to bike across the nation, 50 to 75 miles a day, in honor of those who suffer from disabilities. The group rode through West Virginia Thursday.

The project is called the Journey of Hope and is organized by the Push America Foundation.

“Our route goes from Seattle to Washington DC. 4,270 mile,” said rider T.J. Scott a student at Virginia Tech from Rockville, Maryland. “Our goal is to raise funds and awareness for people with disabilities.”

Each rider commits to the ride, but also commits to raising a minimum of $5,500. Along the route the bikers stop each day at various camps or other events to visit with and spend time with people who have disabilities. Thursday they lunched with some of those individuals at Charleston’s Children’s Therapy Clinic.

“We really experience a lot of different things,” said Scott. “It’s cool because it’s not a specific disability. We’ve done things with the visually impaired, kids with autism, kids with downs syndrome, pretty much everything.”

Scott said there have been many touching moments along the route, but one life changing moment in Montana when he met a mother and her adopted son who suffered from autism. The mother detailed in a nearly two hour conversation the difficulty and the trials and tribulations she’d gone through with the courts to get her son out of an abusive foster home.

“My dream has always been to be a lawyer, but I never really knew what kind of lawyer I wanted to be,” he said. “I learned during that conversation the difference in a bad lawyer and a good one.”

Combine their individual efforts with corporate sponsorships and the Journey of Hope 2014 team will raise more than $500,000 for people with disabilities.

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