Last week, about 40 fraternity brothers stopped in Gainesville to take a break from an 850-mile bicycle ride through Florida.
The Gear Up Florida team, which consisted of more than 300 Pi Kappa Phi brother, from across the country, biked from Miami to Tallahassee to raise awareness for people with disabilities.
On May 24, Gear Up Florida team members stopped at the Arc of Alachua County, a community-based organization that’s dedicated to providing services to people with developmental disabilities. The team made a total of 14 stops in Florida.
At the Arc of Alachua County, located at 3303 NW 83 St., team members ate lunch and competed in a dance-off with people with disabilities.
Gear Up Florida’s public relations specialist Ryan Billingsly said the team raised about $97,000 by the end of their trip, which exceeded its goal of $95,000.
Billingsly said the team’s time in Gainesville was one of the most successful stops because of the energy the people with disabilities had. He said as soon as the team walked in, people wanted their autographs.
“We had a great time,” said the 21-year-old Bradley University graduate. “Everyone brought in 110-percent energy.”
Tim Schlachter, a 22-year old graduate of University of Toledo and Gear Up Florida’s project manager, said the bicycle ride taught him about empathy.
“It’s given me perspective just to see the struggles that a lot of people go through,” he said.
Pam Minos, who has been coming to the Arc of Alachua County for about two years and has a genetic disorder called Prader-Willi syndrome, said she had a great time with the members of Gear Up Florida.
“The event of the bikers means everything to everybody,” she said.
Contact David Street at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter: @dstreet177.