Team Member Tuesday – Patrick Lynch

Event: Journey of Hope 2016 Cyclist

Hometown: Mineola, NY

Why did you sign up for this event?
Ever since I was initiated as an active member of Pi Kappa Phi in the Spring of 2014 I always wanted to be apart of The Journey of Hope. The Pi Alphas from my chapter were major role models for me and hearing their stories only got me more excited to potentially be apart of the same event. Our chapter at Iona also makes biweekly friendship visits with the local Cerebral Palsy Center in Rye Brook, NY, and those visits had such an impact on my how I viewed myself and the people around me. The lack of judgement as soon as you stepped into the center was something that I found so inspiring. The ability to be yourself for all that you were- without having to worry what other people would think- I could tell that meant so much to everyone who was involved in these visits. This was my main motivation for pursuing a spot on the Journey of Hope. Back in the Spring of 2014 I thought that I would never be able to cycle or be apart of the Journey- I just didn’t think it’d be realistic. JOH was an absolute dream for me but I just never believed that it was something that I could achieve in my near future. But then one day in October I picked up the phone, and after a few calls to nationals I was signed up to crew for the 2015 JOH team. It was that simple. From then on, everything moved so quickly & I haven’t looked back. Life happens, and it’s beautiful.

Why did you decide to come back?
Looking back on my experience from this past summer, I realized that I was so incredibly happy every single day of the trip. Every interaction I had with the team, whether it be the cyclists, the other crew members, or participants and sponsors, every single experience was positive in some way. Everyone and everything was so optimistic and I felt so absolutely comfortable with everyone around me. Every visit our chapter makes back at the local Cerebral Palsy Center only reminds me of my experiences from this past summer, and it puts me in this ridiculously positive mood. I was only a third done with JOH 15- I was in a hotel bed in Las Vegas- when I signed up to cycle for the Journey of Hope 2016. I looked up to every cyclist on the team and learned so much from every single one of them. their nutty personalities, their crazy senses of humor- they motivated me to come back. Mix that with the interactions we had with participants, whether it was at an airfield in Mississippi or a water park in Las Vegas, and that is the reason why I wanted to come back. Now every time I train and hop on that bike- I can’t stop smiling. I’m jazzed.

What are you most excited for this summer?
The relationships we will build as a team. I cannot wait to meet the rest of the cyclists, the crew, and the numerous participants and sponsors over the course of the summer. I’m excited to view the Journey in a different scope, as cycling every day may affect my emotions as I get off the bike after a 100 mile day. I’m excited to overcome the physical challenges this summer by looking forward to each day ahead, and the people we’ll meet at those locations.

What is your favorite memory from last year’s summer event?
Don’t do this to me. There’s no way I can pick out one moment. Not a chance. BUT, one of my favorite memories was in a Summer camp in Rutledge, Georgia. We had just arrived and we all gathered in the cafeteria for lunch. This was the campiest place I’v ever been. It was just like the movies. I had never been to sleep away summer camp before but I felt right at home. Every camper and counselor were so friendly and the camp’s values were incredible. But about halfway through lunch, some of the campers began all of these fun little chants, calling up different tables to dance and sing. Then it was game over. Dancing and signing. If I had a superpower, it would be to dance and sing forever. A big hit on our team was the song “All-Star” by Smash Mouth, because in all honesty- who doesn’t love a little Smash Mouth? We all came together as a team and rose from our seats, and on a count of three, we put every single ounce of energy we had into belting that chorus out. In a room of 100 confused campers who weren’t exactly too sure what we were doing – I felt so connected to the team and everything else in the room. That will forever be my happy place. Those campers, my team, and of course- Smash Mouth. (Side Note: on my training rides, one of the last streets I pass on my route is called “Rutledge Road”. Puts everything in perspective for me.)

Tell us a fun fact about yourself:
I thought Alaska was an island until I was 19 years old, and I ride a unicycle!

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