Daddy Daughter Day

For the last 8 months, my favorite day of the week has always been what quickly became known as Daddy Daughter Day. The first few were a little nerve racking for Jenn when she had to go back to work at the end of her maternity leave as we worried about not if I could care for Tenley but what antics we would get into. At the beginning, the days consisted of lots of time receiving daddy snuggles and praying she wouldn't poop until Jenn got home. Now she is getting more and more mobile every day which allows us to get out share our fun with the world.

This week was a little different. Instead of bubbles and reading time, we decided it was a great day to give back. We started by helping a close friend prepare a couple sets of wheels for the new United Althetic chairs to be used during the Monument Avenue 10k on Saturday.  


Then we made our way over to the 10k expo where I got to share my story and Cameron's mission with some good people. I was also able to get in a few hours of desert acclimation training on the trainer inside the sauna of the Arther Ashe Center. 


On Saturday morning, we extended the day a few hours while Jenn ran the 10k. While waiting for her, we made our way up to the SpeakUp cheer station for a little bit. I apologize to the runners of Richmond for not cheering louder. It seems someone finally found my mute button and I'm not sad about it. 


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.

Give a man a fish...

Back in February, most of you learned of my aspirations to use the Race Across America as a platform to rid the stigma surrounding depression, anxiety and other mental illnesses in collaboration with the Cameron K Gallagher Foundation. Amazingly enough, the first words out of many of you were "I want to help. What can I do to support you?".   At the time, I would mention that we were working on some awesome opportunities for just that. Today we announce the first one.

For the past 5 years, I have been following the nutrional plan of Tina Shiver at LightenUp In doing so, she has made sure I was consuming the correct foods for not only the rigors of training and racing but most importantly everyday life. There is something special about the way Tina works where she takes the "Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime." approach.

On April 29th, she will be extending her teachings outside of the office and into the kitchen to help us in our mission to rid the stigma. I would like to invite all of you to join us at the beautiful home of the forever supportive Amy and Steve Williams in Maymont Park. Registration is limited to the first 20 folks who RSVP to or by calling 804-254-1002  This is a night that is guaranteed to have be full of teachings, laughter and love. One you will not want to miss. 


If you aren't able to attend, have no fear you can still help by visiting our store where there are still some of the #NothingToItButToDoIt long sleeve shirts and hats and lots of other handmade items donated by local artisans. You can also make 100% tax deductible donations to the Cameron K Gallagher Foundation on our behalf by visiting our crowdrise page.