INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A retired Marine is going coast to coast to raise awareness about suicides and mental health. He's making the more than 3,000-mile journey by bike, allowing him to learn as much about himself as others.
Denny Ying's trek will take him from San Francisco to Times Square in New York City. While his message is to anyone battling mental health issues or suicide, he admits first responders and military members have it hard. On average, nearly 22 veterans die a day from suicide.
“As a male from the uniform, I know what that stigma looks like," Ying said, "We are taught not to show our emotions because that is a sign of weakness. The truth is, it actually takes more strength more courage and more bravery to speak up and say we are kind of messed up.”
Along his journey, countless people have reached out to him on social media and in person as he enters each town and city. An Ohioan in the Air Force may be joining him on bike for the final leg to NYC. He told Ying he struggles to sleep at night and wants to escape the pain of what he saw while deployed.
“On one of his missions 36 people went, 31 killed in action, five came back,” Ying recounted, "You're in the battlefield, you see people dying left and right, then you come home. Imagine that survivor's guilt. He doesn’t want to die, but he wants the pain to stop because he has a 5-year-old son who wants to live.”
Ying will meet with Indy's Mobile Crisis Assistance Team as well as members from the Indianapolis Fire Department and the Indiana Department of Veterans Affairs on Thursday morning. They will help him promote his cause locally.
Ying is looking for any help to continue funding his ride. He has a GoFundMe set up here.