A ride of a lifetime: Taking philanthropy to the streetsby Corrie Lee Lacey
Tyler Anthony is putting his best foot – er, tire – forward. He’s on a coast-to-coast mission to bike 4,000 miles across the U.S. for Push America, a Pi Kappa Phi National Philanthropy for disabled children.
Anthony is participating in the Journey of Hope (part of Push America), and for this Coastal Carolina University senior, it’s a journey that’s high on mileage – biking from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Anthony will join more than 60 other fraternity brothers from around the U.S. for the ride, which begins June 12 in California and ends in D.C. on Aug. 13. The group will bike an average of 70 miles a day, sometimes up to 110 miles, at about 17 mph. It’s a challenge Anthony says he’s nervous about.
“I fear that I won’t be ready,” says Anthony, an economics and finance double major at CCU. “The purpose of the ride is to raise money, but I have to admit, I want to keep up. My biggest fear is that we’ll all take off, and they’ll leave me.”
But Anthony is doing everything he can to ensure they don’t leave him. For the past few months, he has been on a strict high-carb diet – consuming lots of pasta, chicken, tuna and rice – and eating five meals a day. The 22-year-old works out Monday through Saturday, biking 8 to 10 miles a day, 25 miles every other day and lifting weights on his off time.
But Anthony isn’t just working out – he’s busy raising money, too. In an attempt to raise a personal goal of $10,000 (twice the registration minimum) by May, Anthony is finding every opportunity to hold a fundraiser; he’s even gotten the sororities involved.
Phi Sigma Sigma, Alpha Delta Pi and Gamma Phi Beta are competing to raise money for Anthony. The winning sorority will display its Greek letters on Anthony’s jersey; his own letters will be displayed as well.
Anthony is also doing some fundraising of his own. Last week he spent hours on Prince Lawn, riding a stationary bike in an effort to raise money. In fact, most of Anthony’s time recently has been spent on a stationary bike.
“There is very little bike area on the roads around here,” says Anthony. “It’s not worth the risk. So I spend most of my training miles on a stationary.” Anthony says he’s logged most of his hours in his room – watching movies. And although he’d prefer to bike outside, he says training in his room is much more bearable than the gym.
“I put my headphones on, or throw in a good movie,” says Anthony. “Or, if I have someone to talk to, the time goes by a lot faster.”
Despite Anthony’s desire to bike all 4,000 miles, less than 5 percent of participants actually do.
“There are so many factors – weather, injury, flat tires,” says Anthony. “If I can complete all 4,000, it will be an amazing accomplishment.”
Anthony, a native of Bel Air, Md., will bike the northern route of the Journey of Hope, riding through Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Indiana, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Maryland before finishing in D.C. Along the way, the group will stay in tents, schools, churches and hotels – and conduct Friendship Visits, which include events like day trips to water parks, wheelchair basketball games and puppet shows.
Anthony has already raised more than $1,500 toward his goal, thanks to help from his “very supportive” mother, Terrie, who lives in Maryland.
Terrie, along with Anthony’s dad, Kirk, and younger brother Kyle, plans to travel to California to see Anthony off. They will also be at the Washington, D.C., finish line to welcome him home.
To sponsor Anthony or to learn more about his efforts, visit secure.pushamerica.org/tyleranthony.
“Even one dollar helps,” says Anthony, whose ultimate career goal is to become a professor. “If every person at Coastal donated one dollar, I would pass my goal.” The site accepts debit or credit transactions, and all donations are tax deductible.
For more information on Push America, visit www.pushamerica.org.