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Because 'disabilities never rest,' fraternity pedals for 24 hours

Daniel Beels, a Winthrop junior from Fort Mill and a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, rides a stationary bike on a 10-foot steel scaffold in front of Byrnes Auditorium to raise awareness of and money for people with disabilities.
Daniel Beels, a Winthrop junior from Fort Mill and a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, rides a stationary bike on a 10-foot steel scaffold in front of Byrnes Auditorium to raise awareness of and money for people with disabilities.

Winthrop's Pi Kappa Phi chapter raises money for the disabled

Members of Pi Kappa Phi got a workout Monday while raising money for those with physical and developmental disabilities.

At about 9:30 a.m. today, the fraternity will wrap up a 24-hour scaffold sit. The fraternity brothers have been taking turns riding a stationary bike on a platform about 10 feet in the air. They started Monday morning.

The fundraiser is being used to symbolize that people with disabilities live with them 24 hours a day, every day.

"It doesn't go away when you go to bed," said Matt Diegel, the chapter's philanthropy chairman. "Disabilities never rest, so we're not going to tonight."

Money raised through donations will benefit Push America, the fraternity's national nonprofit, which helps those with physical and developmental disabilities. Push America provides grants to organizations that support people with disabilities, helps raise awareness about living with disabilities and constructs camp facilities usable by the disabled.

The 14 members of the fraternity took turns riding the bike and keeping the rider company.

Cycling is a central part of Push America. Every summer, fraternity brothers from different chapters bike across the country, stopping to work with organizations that serve people with disabilities. Because Winthrop's chapter just formed in January, members will not be riding this year. They might, however, in the future.

Chris Bennett was the first brother to get a workout on the bike Monday morning. He ate up the attention from passersby and said he planned to yell at friends if he saw them nearby.

"This is what we're here for," he said. "We're trying to get attention."

The fraternity hopes the scaffold sit will raise $300. As of Monday evening, they had about $180.

The group also is trying to raise $1,000 by the end of the year, all of which will go to Push America for supplies and construction projects at summer camps.

"This is a positive way to be seen," said Glen Dunlap, a junior and member of the fraternity. "It also helps fight the 'Animal House' image of fraternities."

WANT TO HELP?

To learn more about Push America, Pi Kappa Phi's nonprofit serving people with disabilities, visit pushamerica.org. To donate to the cause, click the "donate" tab near the top of the screen.

Members of Winthrop's chapter of Pi Kappa Phi will be in front of Byrnes Auditorium on campus until 9:30 a.m. today.

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