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Gannon Students to Support DefIANt Scholars Program with 30-Mile Walk-a-Thon

Nick Carneval (L) and Brandon Boyce will walk 30 miles to support the DefIANT Scholars Program, created by Ian Malesiewski (R).

Nick Carneval (L) and Brandon Boyce will walk 30 miles to support the DefIANT Scholars Program, created by Ian Malesiewski (R).

Gannon students Nick Carneval and Brandon Boyce will undertake a 30-mile walk-a-thon from Gannon University to North East and back in support of the DefIANT Scholars Program, beginning at 7 a.m. on Oct. 24.

Local business and individuals are invited to make a donation of $50 to sponsor a mile of the journey. Donations will be used to support the program and raise awareness around the physically and intellectually disabled community.

The DefIANt Scholars Program was created by Ian Malesiewski in partnership with the North East Community Foundation and is designed to empower, encourage and uplift local students. As part of the program, schoalrships are provided to seniors in Erie County who have a physical or intellectual disability to ease their transition into college. The program’s mission is to help aid the disabled community in an attempt to break down barriers, stereotypes and misconceptions inside and outside of the classroom.

Malesiewski became a quadriplegic in 2016 after sustaining an injury as an athlete. He used his defiant spirit and work ethic as a football player and wrestler to graduate from Cathedral Prep in the top of his class after his injury, and is now attending the University of Miami with his sights set on law school and a career advocating for disability rights. 

Carneval and Boyce planned this journey after launching a philanthropy event through their social fraternity to raise funds for the DefIANt Scholars Program. They have since become more enlightened on issues that the disabled community faces, including walking – something they feel the able-bodied may take for granted in their day-to-day lives.

Carneval and Boyce feel their walk – which is estimated to take 10 hours to complete – will exploit a sense of challenges in the function of walking. 

For more information or to sponsor a mile, visit

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