During Winter Break, I was given the opportunity to present the Game Ball at the Denver Nuggets game on Jan. 3, against the Minnesota Timberwolves. After being greeted at the stadium entrance, I was escorted to sit near the court (not courtside) and wait with the Game Ball before the game started. After the players were introduced and the National Anthem was sung, it was my turn to shine. My one minute of glory started with me being escorted to half-court by two cheerleaders while being introduced by the announcer to the fans, handing the basketball over to the referee, posing for the classic handshake-and-a-picture, then being escorted off-court and being left alone to find my seat. Contrary to what you might think, meeting two girls was not the highlight of the experience; the highlight was my introduction.

The introduction stated who I was and why I was presenting the game ball. I was presenting the game ball because this upcoming summer, I will be riding in the Journey of Hope. The Journey of Hope is a bicycle ride from coast to coast totaling over 2,800 miles and lasting more than two months. The Journey of Hope serves to raise money and awareness for Push America, a non-profit serving people with disabilities. With that money, Push America works with Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity men around the nation to fund and organize build events. These build events usually take place at a camp, where undergrads build everything from handicapable jungle gyms to stages to storage sheds. The camps we build at are camps that work to give handicapped children and adults the same camp experience as someone without a disability would have.
As a bicycle rider in the Journey of Hope, I am trying to raise $10,000 for Push America, and am currently a third of the way there. Presenting the game ball was both to raise awareness about Push America as well as to get donations from people I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to interact with. This article serves the same purpose. Hopefully, immediately after reading this article you will go to [www.support.pushamerica.org/goto/jeremyjackson_joh13] and click the giant red button that says “Support Jeremy!” All donations are tax-deductible and a guaranteed way to add meaning to your life. Of course, you can always make a recurring donation and ensure good karma for months on end! Even a small donation, like the change you find in your pocket, is appreciated and goes further than you would think. At this website, you can also read a little more about the Journey of Hope as well as read my blog that gives updates on what I am doing for the Journey of Hope and see my fundraising progress. To learn more about Push America and everything it does besides the Journey of Hope (and there is a lot), visit [www.pushamerica.org]. If you’d like to talk to me more about my trip or subscribe to my email updates, my email is [jacksj25@my.erau.edu].

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