Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide because of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and a local veteran says that’s just not acceptable.
After coming home from the Marine Corps with PTSD, Ian Michel says a hug changed his life.
"Having PTSD and saying I'm a vet was a very shameful process over the last 10 years,” said Michel. “I didn't want to admit to anyone that my soul was hurt."
Michel says the journey of healing from PTSD was the hardest of his life.
"War does something to you, and now it's time to take the bull by the horns," said Michel.
Michel is now putting his foot down and biking more than 1,000 miles to raise awareness for PTSD.
"If people aren't ashamed of having PTSD, then we can come together and talk about it,” said Michel. “We can accept that sometimes you are depressed, isolated, and sometimes you feel like there is no help."
Along the ride from the Marion VA Hospital to Washington, D.C., Michel will have the support of three of his closest friends and people like Michael Bert, who chose to simply ride through town to show his support.
"It really helps a lot just knowing that somebody cares," said Bert.
"We want to have the face of PTSD change to where there is a smile," said Michel.
By offering free hugs along the way, they hope to change the face of PTSD 60 miles at a time.
If you want to join in for a portion of the Pedal4PTSD bike ride, the group will post its progress on this facebook page.
To donate to the group's fight against PTSD, click here.
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Paducah, KY 42003