RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) — A local man is preparing to bike across America to raise awareness about teen depression and anxiety.
Andy Welch begins his journey from California to Maryland on Tuesday. 8News caught up with him before he left for the ‘Race Across America.’
Welch has 12 days to bike 3,000 miles from Oceanside, California to Annapolis, Maryland.
“Our plan is to be on the bike at least 20-21 hours a day in order to get across as quickly as we can,” Welch said.
While the event is a race, Welch is using this as a platform to raise awareness for teen depression and anxiety. His goal is to raise $50,000 for the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.
“If I can help the younger generation out by telling my story I’m more than happy to do so,” Welch said.
Welch knows all too well how mental illness can take control of your life. In 2015 he attempted suicide.
“As somebody who did fail and survive,” Welch said. “I can tell you that the love and support that I received after I spoke up and said something was 100 percent life changing.”
He knows it’s this cause and the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation that will keep him going when the race gets tough.
“At some point, I’m going to want to quit and I won’t because of everybody back here in Richmond,” Welch said.
He said he will keep in mind every teen he can possibly help because of this race.
“The longer I stay out there, the more our story gets shared and the more kids get helped,” Welch said.
You can follow his journey and donate via his website.