Cyclists on statewide trek stop in Tampa

05/25/09 Andrea Lypka
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Twenty-four bicyclists toured Florida to raise funds for non-profit centers for people with disabilities between May 16 and May 30. The cyclists visited MacDonald Training Center in Tampa on May 21.

The center is one of the leading non-profit serving 600 adults with developmental disabilities to live empowered lives for over 50 years in Tampa Bay.

With the contribution of Gear Up Florida, the training center will purchase touch screens for the computers.

“Every year these fine young men visit us and every year we are delighted to see them,” said Rita Hattab community relations coordinator at the center. “Everybody needs to know how to work a computer now. This is an important skill we teach at the center.”

The cyclists also visited the MTC fine arts studios and met with artists Mike Albritton and Glen M. Nash. Glen. Glen has exhibited at the Tampa Museum of Art, the TECO Plaza Public Art Gallery, Artists Emporium, the Syd Entel Gallery and other locations. Both of them recently exhibited work at the University of Tampa's Scarfone/Hartley Gallery in Tampa.

The top fundraiser for the event this year is Paul Parker from New Jersey. “I raised $10,700. But to be honest with you, this is a collective effort; every member on the team raised a minimum of $2,500 to earn a seat on the team. And this is just a small token for the appreciation we all have,” Parker said.

Gear Up Florida’s annual 800-mile cycling event is organized by Push America. The volunteers from the Phi Kappa Phi fraternity cycle over 800 miles across the state to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities and they also visit non-profit organizations.

Over the past 10 years, almost 300 Pi Kappa Phis have participated in Gear Up Florida. Each year, the team raised more than $80,000 to benefit people with disabilities. Gear Up Florida has served that mission well by creating an event that is touted as "The best two weeks of programming Push America has to offer."

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