University of Houston student Serjio Brereda has been traveling across the country as one of the many faces of Adaptive Athletics, which promotes specialized sports for students with disabilities. He, along with 27 cyclists and nine crew members of the Journey of Hope, trekked cross country spanning from the West Coast to Washington, D.C., raising money to bring awareness for individuals with disabilities and their capabilities.

“Being on the crew for Journey of Hope 2015 is part of my life’s mission. It’s a chance to give back to my community of people, make their voices heard, inspire and be inspired by the team I work for. This adventure is the journey of a lifetime,” he said.

The Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity member’s life changed in 2010 when he was diagnosed with a virus that attacked his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed but not discouraged. After receiving the devastating news that he would not be able to walk again, Serjio was determined to beat the odds by any means necessary. After the diagnosis, Brereda began two years of intensive therapy, including routine sessions and numerous hospital stays where he pushed himself beyond the limits. After therapy, he returned to school with a new outlook and intention.

Brereda also serves as the Adaptive Athletics’ development coordinator, managing the team’s fundraisers, handling corporate sponsors and additional duties at the foundation’s friendship visits throughout the summer. The Journey of Hope is an event hosted by The Ability Experience, which was founded by the national Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity in 1977. To date, members have raised more than $15 million for The Ability Experience. This year, the Journey of Hope aims to raise more than $500,000 in support of people with disabilities.