NMB veteran embarks on 5k mile journey to spread PTSD awareness - FOX Carolina 21

North Myrtle Beach veteran embarks on 5,000-mile journey to spread PTSD awareness

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Source: 5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes Source: 5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes
5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes 5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes
5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes 5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes
5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes 5000 Miles Discovering America's Heroes
MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A North Myrtle Beach veteran has embarked on a 5,000 mile journey to raise money and awareness for a condition that effects people overseas, as well as here at home.

Corporal Ryan Weldon, a 34-year-old Marine Corps Veteran, who joined in 1999, and was active until 2003, has embarked on a 5,000 mile walk from the East coast of Delaware to the coast San Francisco, California.  He has chosen to follow the Great American Discovery Trail, which stretches 6,800 miles across the United States of America.

Weldon said the idea to walk was motivated by a combination of factors, and after reading an article in Time magazine entitled “This Bill Could Help Veterans With Mental Health,” he was inspired.

“I had a dream Christmas Eve, and woke up Christmas Day with the urge to walk across the U.S. - PTSD  is on the rise," Weldon said. "I thought why not do this? You need to go ahead and get this out there in the open. We need to get rid of the stigma attached to mental disorders and start talking about them.”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects about 7 to 8 percent of the population at some point in their lives. Around 5.2 million adults have PTSD during a given year, and only a small portion of those affected have experienced a trauma.

This trip has high stakes for Weldon. He has sold his car, and turned down a couple job offers, but he feels getting the conversation about mental disease started is worth it.  Weldon is currently in Maryland, and plans to be in Washington D.C. by the end of the week.  As he travels he's been staying with millitary families and supporters of his cause.  As he walks he's been sending updates to his Facebook page.  Originally he gave himself a five thousand dollar budget, but now that donations have surpassed his expected goal, he plans to donate all proceeds to his two sponsors:

PTSD Survivors of America


“I'm trying to get the conversation going, I'm trying to get funds going to help research with these disorders," he says. Also, it's partly for me, and helping me find myself.”

The trip is long, and according to Weldon, he has been hit by every winter storm head on, but PTSD is not an easy burden to bear either. He's made it 200 miles thus far, and has a long way to go, but so does PTSD awareness, and this journey is his way of helping the process along.

“If you have PTSD, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you don't have PTSD, but you know someone who does, reach out to them daily if needed," Weldon says. "Sometimes it's those tiny little things that make the difference, and save a life.”

Copyright 2015 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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