UT student Alejandro Vera will take a two-week bike tour next year to change the way Americans view people with disabilities.Vera, a junior majoring in marketing and international business, will participate in the 16th annual Gear Up Florida fundraising cycling event hosted by Push America, a nonprofit organization, in May. All cyclists must raise money that will be donated to organizations that work with people with disabilities.
“I want to spread awareness to look at people beyond their disabilities,” Vera said, adding that growing up in Venezuela, he was unaware of his own childhood disabilities.
“I told my mom about my wanting to bike in Gear Up, and she was so proud of me,” he said. “She told me something I never knew — that I had a walking disability and had to wear braces as a toddler.”
Gear Up Florida is an 830-mile trek through the Sunshine State, beginning in Miami and ending in Tallahassee.
The organization hopes to raise a total of $110,000 among the cyclists. So far, the 38 participants have raised just more than $7,000. Gear Up Florida was created by Pi Kappa Phi’s Push America nonprofit organization.
Vera is fundraising to reach his goal of $2,500. Individuals can donate here. All donations are tax-deductible.