A journey of hope

University of Tennessee student and Clinton native Ben Ross is gearing up for the Journey of Hope. Journey of Hope is a Summer long, cross-country bicycling event that raises money for people with disabilities. Journey of Hope started in 1987 and is still a massive fundraiser today.

Ross is a member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and Journey of Hope is his philanthropy project.

In conjunction with the Ability Experience, Journey of Hope not only raises money for people with disabilities but also does things like build wheelchair ramps, host wheelchair basketball parties, host lake events and much more.

Ben Graduated from Clinton High School in 2015 and was an active member of the community. Now he is studying Finance at UT and looking to make a difference through his fraternity.

He was the only student selected from the UT chapter of Pi Kappa Phi to participate in Journey of Hope 2018 and will be joined by hundreds of Pi Kappa Phis from all over the country.

All the participants will be divided into teams of roughly 30.

There are three potential routes Ross could be pedaling: The Trans-American Route, The North Route and the South Route. All the routes share a finish line in Washington D.C.

The Trans-American Route begins in Seattle, WA and goes through cities such as Wichita, St. Louis and Lexington.

The North Route begins in San Francisco, CA and goes through cities such as Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and Chicago.

The South Route begins in Los Angeles, CA and goes through cities such as Albuquerque, Las Vegas and Birmingham.

“We ride for about 75 to 80 miles a day.” Said Ross, who has been training for months for the ride.

Though Ross has yet to be assigned a route, he stated that he kind of prefers not to be assigned the South Route. “It goes pretty much through the desert for most of June.” Ross stated.

Because the Journey of hope has been going strong for upwards of 30 years, finding places to stay on the routes is no problem.

“We stay in church gyms, rec centers, sometimes a motel. We have to take a sleeping bag and pillow. Not only is it a great fundraiser, but also an amazing experience.” said Ross.

Ross urges anyone that wants to help out or is even just interested in learning more to contact him at 865-318-7285 or by email at rossben865@hotmail.com or bross15@vols.utk.edu.

Ross set a fundraising goal of $5,500 and is almost halfway there with $2,700. He has received donations from friends, family, businesses and even people he’s never met.

You can donate to the cause at www.classy.org/fundraiser/1175927 or you can send a check titled Ben Ross Journey of Hope 2018 to the Ability Experience headquarters. More information for that can be found at www.abilityexperience.org.

Ross finished by saying, “All of the money that is raised is supporting communities that don’t have a lot of funding. Every single dollar is going to help people in need nationwide.”