A lot of people are going to ask, “Why are you doing this!?” The answer isn’t a simple one. In 2020 my life hit an all-time low. Fired from a management job I put everything into. Almost simultaneously I tore my left bicep (tore my right one in 2016). Then three months later I was in a catastrophic motorcycle accident. I fractured my pelvis in two places, broke/dislocated/ and tore ligaments in my wrist, fractured my orbital bone and needed a lot of stitches. The first three nights I spent in the hospital, my mental health hit an all time low. I laid there alone, in a hospital bed, looking for ways to end my life. Suicidal thoughts had always been around, now they’d taken over my mind. I never went through with it.

Fast forward a little more than a year later and YouTube’s algorithm suggested a video for me. “Live Before I Die” by Mike Posner. A music video chronicling his own transcontinental walk in 2019. It spoke to me, and since seeing the video the thoughts of doing this for myself permeated my waking moments. I decided to do it, but I decided for “me” wasn’t enough. There had to be something more than “me” to do this for. I watched “Dear Evan Hansen” after seeing the stage play a few years ago, and it reminded me of a terrible loss of a friend of mine. Her son, Jaxon, tragically took his life at only sixteen years old. It reminded me that we don’t talk enough about mental health in this country, and by doing so we’re doing a terrible disservice to everyone who’s suffering. I made it my goal to walk across this country to raise awareness for the growing mental health crisis in this country, and to raise funds for the Behavioral Health Unit at Dayton Children’s Hospital, and to do it honor of my friend Sara’s son, Jaxon.

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