‘Riding’ Awareness: Vet Biking 48 States to Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention
Summertime in Northern Michigan means more bicyclists on the road, but one is different than the rest.
Dan Hurd is on a journey to ride his bike through the 48 contiguous United States to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“I attempted suicide three times,” Hurd said. “I was planning my fourth attempt when friend of mine introduced me to cycling.”
Cycling became his outlet and it helped him grow stronger physically and mentally.
About a year ago, he decided to embark on a journey to travel the 48 continental United States.
It is a total of 25,000 miles in about three years to raise awareness for suicide prevention.
“It’s broken down to a daily basis that’s 22 miles a day, and that’s my dedication to my service members that lose their battle every day to suicide,” Hurd said.
“At first it was for myself, when I got onto the journey it got more focused, and there were a lot more people that needed to hear somebody else’s story,” Hurd said. “I tell people about my story and how it connects to others and our stories are the same it’s just different characters and different events.”
In each place along the way, he speaks at schools, churches, and colleges, and even just those he runs into. Each interaction he is sharing his story, hoping to help save those he comes in contact with.
“There was a woman a half a mile away from a bridge that I had just crossed and spoke to her for about 2 minutes, she messaged me and told me she was planning on jumping off that bridge,” Hurd said.
“That’s what keeps me going, as much as they’re looking at me to keep going I’m looking for them to keep going,” Hurd said.
From Cheboygan, Hurd will ride on down to Grand Rapids, over to Chicago, Illinois, then on to Wisconsin and over to the West Coast.
“I have found my purpose,” Hurd said. “Just because at times we feel like we don’t have purpose there’s always a purpose for us, as long as our heart beats we have purpose.”
If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, there is help available. Contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.