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By Selena Stevens

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On May 12, Tod Cox and Michael Culton will join 24 other college students in Miami to begin the summer challenge.

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May 5, 2000 – (Lexington, Ky.) – Todd Cox, a University of Kentucky junior from Corbin majoring in business management and communication, and Michael Culton, a Lexington Community College computer information systems student from Lexington, will bike across Florida this summer on behalf of people with disabilities.

The two, both members of UK’s chapter of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, are participating in 2000 Gear Up Florida, a 12-day, statewide bicycle trip that supports Push America, a national non-profit organization serving people with disabilities. On May 12, they will join 24 other college students in Miami to begin the summer challenge.

“While this may seem like a unique and inspiring challenge, it is nothing in comparison to the challenges faced every day by people with disabilities,” Cox said.

Push America began in 1979 as P.U.S.H. – Play Units for the Severely Handicapped – an initiative of Pi Kappa Phi with architect and artist Thomas Sayre. Sayre had a vision of improving the lives of children with severe disabilities and had developed models of “therapeutic play” units. Pi Kappa Phi adopted Sayre’s vision and created a national outreach program. Over the years, P.U.S.H. grew   to serve all people with disabilities and became a separate organization, Push America. Today, its initiatives includes a summer camp program, a traveling puppet show, volunteer construction weekends and Journey of Hope, the annual cross-country bicycle trip.

“Due to my involvement with Push America and local efforts, I have learned what people with disabilities can do,” Cox said. “I’ve realized there is a need nationwide to educate people on the abilities of people with disabilities.”

Gear Up Florida seeks to reach over 1 million people and raise more than $40,000 in support of the projects and programs of Push America.

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