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Pi Kappa Phi Takes Journey of Hope

National bike ride benefits people with special needs.

Over the course of a week, Greg Mangieri rides more than 100 miles on his bicycle all over the Lowcountry. That seems like a whole lot of pedaling, but it's nothing compared to the mammoth journey in front of him.

Mangieri and another College of Charleston student will take part in a 4,000-mile, cross-country bike ride this summer. The trek from Sacramento, Calif., to Washington, D.C., is part of his fraternity's philanthropic mission to help individuals with special needs.

"The main purpose is to raise funds and awareness for adults and children with disabilities," said Mangieri, a brother in Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. "Along the way, in every city in which we stop, we always have some sort of friendship visit with adults and children with disabilities."

Just two College of Charleston fraternity brothers -- Mangieri and chapter president Fletcher Cline -- will ride in the Journey of Hope, but 35 Pi Kappa Phi brothers will join them on the road. The journey begins in early June and wraps in mid-August.

"I've ridden a bike all my life, but never like this. I've never considered myself a cyclist," Mangieri said. "But to get ready we try to bike 20 to 30 miles a day … and I try to do a full-body workout when I go to the gym once a day."

The brothers are also looking for sponsors and donors to help with to the organization's larger mission.

"All the money we raise gets put back to the community somehow," Mangieri said.

The ride annually raises $500,000 to benefit people with special needs. The fraternity's philanthropic arm, Push America, installs wheelchair ramps at homes and buildings where access is currently limited, for example.

But the ride is not strictly a fundraiser. It's also an educational journey.

"To help and support, you don't even need to just donate," he said. "If they want to support me and they can't afford to donate, they can just spread the word about adults and children with disabilities and what they are capable of."

And like most other Greek-life initiatives, the ride will foster brotherhood.

"You can drive across country in a car, but we're going to be riding on a bicycle," Mangieri said. "It's just going to be the most amazing feeling."

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