April 21, 2019  

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USM Students Continue Pi Kappa Phi Tradition of Cross-Country Cycling in Support of Charity Event

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From left, Andrew Causey, Jack Hoover, and Hasten Mckissick celebrate completing Journey of Hope, a cross-country cycling event that supports persons with disabilities. Journey of Hope is the primary charitable beneficiary of Pi Kappa Phi at USM.

Three University of Southern Mississippi students cycled from cities along the U.S. west coast to Washington, D.C. this past summer in support of persons with physical and mental disabilities.

Starting their journeys in Long Beach, San Francisco, and Seattle, Jack Hoover, Hasten Mckissick, and Andrew Causey concluded their ventures in Washington, D.C.  in conjunction with The Ability Experience, a philanthropy supported by Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. The annual national event began in 1987 and brings in approximately $500,000 each year, providing needed funding for services and programs for, while also promoting acceptance and understanding of, persons with disabilities. The three USM students brought in more that $5,000 each in support of the cause.

Hoover is a Molecular Biology major from Spanish Fort, Ala., is a student in the Honors College, and student worker at the USM Foundation. He completed the “South Route” that began in Long Beach and was about 3,755 miles. Hasten Mckissick of Smithville, Miss. completed the “TransAmerica route” that started in Seattle and covered approximately 4,370 miles. Causey, a psychology major from McComb, Miss. and a facility manager for the Union Complex, completed the 3,720 mile “North Route” which started in San Francisco and was 3,720 miles.

Causey described Journey of Hope as a “physical, mental, and emotional challenge, but every day was worth it.” The trip included “friendship visits” along the way, which included dance parties, cookouts, and other moments to socialize with people who have physical and mental disabilities.

The trip will be “forever be a part of who I am, along with the cyclists and crew members who became my closest friends, and every person with a disability that made an impact on me,” Causey said.

“After biking 70 miles or more each day, the friends we made were the best encouragers we could have had to keep going. This was the heart of our journey, and I loved that we were able to give grants to some of the organizations that we interacted with from the money we raised,” Causey said. “We had the amazing opportunity to not only see the country from our bike seat, but meet some really great people.”

For more information about Journey of Hope, visit https://abilityexperience.org/programs/journey-of-hope/.