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UNG students take Journey of Hope to help those with disabilities

UNG students take Journey of Hope to help those with disabilities
Adam Brown, left, and Jonathan Michaud, were part of a cycling team raising funds for the Journey of Hope.

Two University of North Georgia (UNG) students spent their summer breaking a sweat by participating in a cycling fundraiser that covered more than 3,700 miles with members of their national fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, on a trek across America to raise awareness for those with disabilities.

Adam Brown, a junior majoring in middle school education from Davidson, North Carolina, was a cyclist, and Jonathan Michaud, a senior majoring in chemistry from Cumming, Georgia was part of the support crew for the bike team.

Called the Journey of Hope, the group collected more than $750,000, distributing some of it at "friendship visits," stops along the route that coincide with places that help people with disabilities. Brown said he raised about $7,500 through a series of fundraisers, T-shirt sales, raffles, and personal and corporate donations; Michaud raised $2,500 from donations by local businesses.

The ride began June 11 in San Francisco and ended Aug. 12 on the Capitol front lawn in Washington, D.C. The group averaged 75 miles a day, with the longest stretch covering 128 miles through the Nevada desert, where Brown lost 15 pounds.

"It was more mentally challenging to me than physical," Brown, 22, said. "I trained for six weeks by riding about 120 miles a week and lifting weights — cycling is a full body exercise."

The end of the journey left Michaud, 22, overwhelmed with emotion.

"I was overjoyed to have accomplished the mission we set out to do and the impact we made this summer," said Michaud. "Leading 30 cyclists across the country was a huge accomplishment. It was not an easy task and it was very rewarding to know that we did it."

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