Time Station Sponsors

We want to fill all 55 spots with sponsors! RAAM has 55 time stations that are spaced about 40 to 90 miles apart across the 3000-mile course. Regular time stations can be sponsored for $100, while the start, finish, and midway point are available for $500. If we reach this goal, we will raise nearly $7,000 for the CKG Foundation and Andy’s race expenses.

Sponsors will be recognized on social media at each milestone and key sponsors will be given extra exposure during the race. This is a great opportunity for small businesses, families and individuals to speak up and fight the stigma against depression and anxiety as we take Cameron's message coast to coast. All donations are 100% tax deductible!

If you wish to become a sponsor of one of the time stations you can register here

Lessons learned from being a lifetime Cubs fan

8 years ago Jenn and I bought our first house together. The day we closed on it there were two very important things I needed to do. The first was to propose to my best friend and pray she had lost her mind and would say yes. The second was I wanted to put up a flag pole on the porch so we could proudly display my, now our, affection of the Chicago Cubs. Ever since, we have used the flag as a way for others to locate the house as it hasn't come down since. 

As the sun rises this morning, our neighbors will once again drive past on their way to work and see the flag(s). On the surface, they think Cubs fans live there. They aren't wrong but it goes much deeper. Those flags are a symbol of a household which has been taught the lessons of loyalty, patience and hope.

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81 years ago, my great grandparents were blessed with the birth of my grandmother. From day one she was taught these lessens of life through being a Cubs fan. Later in life, she would teach her children (my mother's generation) who taught their children (my brother, sister, cousin and myself) who are now proudly teaching our children. Until this season, she was the only living family member who had seen the Cubs go to a World Series and that was when she was just 10 years old.

 The day one tradition has continued in the family with my brother, sister and I all being guilty of watching a Cubs game in the hospital with our newborn children in our arms.

The day one tradition has continued in the family with my brother, sister and I all being guilty of watching a Cubs game in the hospital with our newborn children in our arms.

As a kid, we would dream like many other kids about our team winning it all. It wasn't always the easiest dream to keep alive when our team would lose 100+ games a year and be mathematically eliminated from the possiblity of reaching the postseason early in the season. What was easy as a kid who only wanted to win would have been to stomp our feet in a tantrum every year. It was also very easy to do what Grandma said to do which was to do the exact opposite of throwing a tantrum. 

From the very beginning, Grandma taught us to never give up on our team. To always be loyal and to stand by those you care about. She taught us to be patient in believing that our day would come. She taught us to say, "Next year. We will get them next year." You couldn't do the last one without truly embracing the first two with an unwavering belief in hope. 

Last night, America was treated to the finale of what will be forever remembered in baseball history as one of the most memorable World Series to have been played. Down 3-1 in a best of 7 series, the Cubs refused to give up. They refused to give up on themselves and their loyal fans. Most importantly they refused to give up on each other. They continued to believe and "Next year" became this year. Multiple generations of fans realized their childhood dream right next to the players who were celebrating on the field. The Cub also proved that Grandma wasn't crazy and the life lessens she passed on are truly worth living our lives by. 

 After retiring from a career in the school system, Grandma continued watching Cubs baseball everyday but from a little closer than her living room. Her Cubs staff photo from a couple years ago. 

After retiring from a career in the school system, Grandma continued watching Cubs baseball everyday but from a little closer than her living room. Her Cubs staff photo from a couple years ago. 

Ohio 200

It's that time of year again.  Today, we will once again be racing at the RAAM Challenge - Ohio. For the first time however, we will be taking part in the 200 mile race. Thank you to everyone back at home for all the well wishes this week. It looks like it is going to be one to remember much like last year.

We are very excited to be sharing our story along with the mission of the SpeakUp 5K / Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation We are only $500 away from reaching the 10% mark of our goal of raising $50k for CKG. Visit our crowdrise page if you would like to help us reach that goal before I am done with the 200 mile race.

https://www.crowdrise.com/andywelchraceacrossamericaspeakup/fundraiser/CKGfoundation

If you would like to follow along during the race, there are two pages you want to follow. The first is the page which is providing live GPS tracking of all the racers. There you will be able to see such things of how slow I'm riding, distance covered etc. The second page is the results page which will have all of the time station check-ins. The first racer goes off at 5am. My official start time is 5:24am.

Live GPS Tracking

Results Page

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The Power of Me Too

It has been almost 18 months to the day since I had made the decision to speak up and tell someone about how I was suffering with depression and at the time, losing the battle.  It has been 6 months since that February night I spoke publicly about it for the first time. After that night, many of you have called, texted, emailed and personally come to me to thank me for speaking out. You have shared stories of your experiences with depression and anxiety. 

Last week, the National Alliance of Mental Illness posted a blog about Olympians being able to prove living with a mental illness does not make a person weak. In the article, Laura Greenstein stated that if the percentages were correct than there are approximately 110 of the 554 US Olympians competing in Rio right now are living, competing and succeeding with a mental illness. Her hypothesis as to why more athletes hadn't spoken up, "Probably stigma. Athletes want to be viewed as strong and empowered, and rightly so. They don’t want the public shaming them for any type of issue or condition, but especially one that is so heavily stigmatized in our society." 

Although I am not an olympian, I do pride myself on pushing myself as a cyclist beyond what most people see as conceivable. Fear of the stigma IS the reason why it took me over 10 years to say something. While I have learned ways to lessen or shorten the effects of an "episode" through therapy, nothing has helped more than reflecting back on the stories which have been shared with me. Knowing I am not battling alone. Knowing there are many others who are living with a mental illness while leading highly respected lives. 

At the time of my speaking up, I didn't think I could hurt anymore than I already was. In hindsight, it has been the most therapeutic action I have ever made. Join me in encouraging everyone who may be living with a story to SpeakUp as we share this message across the nation during the toughest bicycle race in the world, the Race Across America.

We have a goal of raising $50,000 for the Cameron K Gallagher Foundation. By making a 100% tax deductible donation to the CKG Foundation you will not only help me spread this message of living stigma free but also give the CKG Foundation the power to reach young adults who are suffering from depression and anxiety. 

The true power of our stories however, lay in their ability to end the stigma. Our "me too" stories hold the power to not only lift someone up but more importantly they are the wrecking ball to the wall the stigma surrounding mental illnesses have been allowed to build around us.