"Man walking 6,200 miles for PTSD awareness" article
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DENISON, Texas - If you travel U.S. Highway 75 south over the next few days, you may see Ryan Weldon.
He's walking across the country to raise awareness of a cause close to his heart.
"Well I am walking across the United States," Ryan Weldon said.
We met Weldon as he crossed over the state line into Texas.
"I'm walking for PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder," Weldon said. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event -- either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Weldon calls it, "life at three miles per hour."
"Things that people pass by everyday that they don't even know are there, I get to see and admire them," Weldon said.
He says he was inspired to go on the 5,000 mile journey around Christmas, so he started selling everything he owned.
"On Valentines day, February 14, I departed from Dover Delaware," Weldon said.
His 5,000 mile estimate, was just that. He's stopped to talk to so many people off the beaten path, the journey's now expected to span 6,200 miles.
He says this cause is near and dear to his heart.
"I just felt compelled to get out there," Weldon said.
Because he's lost friends to PTSD related suicide.
"It takes more than 22 veterans by suicide every single day, and as a veteran that was just unacceptable - something had to be done," Weldon said.
Weldon himself has seen it first hand - he's an Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran, who served in the Marine Corps from 1999 -2003.
"Society is not being informed as well as they should about how serious this disorder is, and how our veterans are not getting the help that they need," Weldon said.
He's says he's had an outpouring of support.
"Everyday is an adventure, everyday is a new discovery," Weldon said. "I have no idea what's around the next corner.
If you want to follow his journey, he has a Facebook page: "5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes."
He'll be in Houston by the end of the month and then will set off for San Francisco.
"There's really no end date - however long it takes to save a life, Weldon said.