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The Shared Experience

Author: The Ability Experience

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The Ability Experience is a nonprofit organization with a simple mission: create shared experiences with people with disabilities and members of Pi Kappa Phi fraternity. We do so through a variety of volunteer events, bringing students together from across the country to bike, build, and create lasting memories with the disability community. Our hosts, Zorth Pilonieta and Gary Sugg, interview members of our Ability Experience community and give them the platform to tell their shared experiences. Join us as we explore the many unique stories that make up The Ability Experience.
13 Episodes
Welcome to episode 13! On this episode of “The Shared Experience Podcast,” hosts Zorth and Gary interview 1997 Journey of Hope North Route cyclist, managing director at Merrill Lynch and current AbEx board member, Michael Davis.  Learn how Michael’s Journey of Hope experience led to him hosting the Inaugural Empire State Ride in New York, and saying YES to more adventures like hiking Mount Kilimanjaro in 2024. Connect with Michael professionally here: Connect with Michael socially here: Interested in doing the 2024 Empire State Ride October 10-14? Email Diego at
Welcome to episode 12, featuring Rob Raesemann from the Zeta Zeta chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. In this episode, hosts Zorth and Gary talk with Rob about being a 6x Pi Alpha, his involvement for the AbEx Challenge: Gate River Run and the future of the Zeta Zeta Chapter. A snippet about Rob: "Rob's initiation into Pi Kappa Phi over 35 years ago set him on a path he could never have imagined. He feels lucky to have joined the only fraternity that could provide him with the types of opportunities Pi Kappa Phi has. Rob started volunteering for the fraternity as a District Counselor in 2002, which led to attending Pi Kappa Phi’s Supreme Chapter in Washington, D.C. While in D.C., Rob attended the Journey of Hope arrival for the first time. When he learned alumni could participate in Gear Up Florida, he immediately purchased a bike, and applied for his first summer event in 2003. Rob has been active with the Ability Experience for over 20 years!" Connect with Rob professionally here: Connect with Rob socially here: Sign up for the 2024 Gate River Run here:
Welcome back! It's been a while. On this return episode, Zorth and Gary talk with Jim Karlovec, cofounder of the Journey of Hope. This is the first episode of a longer series discussing how "A" journey of hope became THE Journey of Hope.
As a Pi Alpha, Cycling Coach and Board Member, it's fair to say that Corey Dillon has impacted the The Ability Experience's cycling events more than just about anyone. Over the years, Corey has dedicated himself to the evolution of our events - particularly in the interest of safety. Join us and we uncover what Corey has added to the Journey of Hope and Gear Up Florida experiences since is 1991 cross-country trek.
Paul Drake has done it all. As a seven time Pi Alpha, Paul has cycled all three routes of Journey of Hope and Gear Up Florida. Join us as Paul compares and contrasts his experiences depicting the evolution of our programs over the years. Paul's involvement: Journey of Hope (1989, 1991, 1998, 2003, 2005), Gear Up Florida (2004), Pi Alpha Ride Along (2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2017), Cycling Events Cycling Coach (2018-present)
Twin brothers, Josh and Will Ingram have a lot to unpack when it comes to Ability Experience involvement. Join us as we compare and contrast two unique experiences including the 2019 Journey of Hope.
As a result of a traumatic motorcycle accident, Brent Freeman is a Pi Alpha who is now blind. While injuries have effected his memory, Journey of Hope will never be forgotten. Join us as he shares how his perspective of his 2010 experience has evolved and what he cherishes most about that summer.  (Recorded LIVE as a part of 2021 Pi Kapp College for Chapter Officers)
3x Pi Alpha and past-staff member, Mike McBride, Omega (Purdue), is an adventurer. From leading The Ability Experience's only event in Europe, to most recently riding the Blue Ridge Parkway in just five days, Mike reflects on what it truly means to be a Pi Alpha and how your first event shouldn't be the end.
Since 2003, our flagship construction program has been building more than just accessible facilities at our partner camps. Join us as our inaugural Build America Project Manager Jenkins Chan discusses the program and the reasons why many view it as the most impactful program The Ability Experience has to offer.
On this episode of #TheSharedExperience, our host Zorth Pilonieta sits down with Ryan Thibodaux, Gamma Iota (LSU). Learn how Ryan is balancing family, his dental practice, and playing in one of New Orleans' top bands all while taking on the challenge of riding segments of the Journey of Hope South Route in the wake of COVID-19. Journey of Hope Ride Along Challenge:
Gear Up Florida 2020 team member and now five-time Pi Alpha, David Dalton, Beta Nu (Houston), reflects on his time with the organization. Find out where this year’s virtual event stacks up against his previous cycling event experiences on this episode of The Shared Experience. (Dalton participated in Gear Up Florida 2001 and 2020 as a cyclist, 2003 and 2004 as a crew member, as well as a cyclist on the 2002 Journey of Hope south team)
"Living in a wheelchair is never easy, but no one said life was easy." Kyle Pease, Eta Delta (Kennesaw State) is a four-time Iron Man and co-founder of the Kyle Pease Foundation. Listen in as Kyle sheds light on his journey as a competitive athlete and how he continues to push the envelope to inspire and motivate us all. Referenced Links:
Chael Williams, Theta Alpha (Southern Mississippi) is a 2019 Journey of Hope South Route cyclist. Join us for our first episode as our host, Zorth Pilonieta chats with Chael about his unique experience with The Ability Experience, and what being a Pi Kappa Phi means to him. Learn more:
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