Digital Exclusive: Suicide survivor bikes across lower 48, raising suicide awareness

Digital Exclusive

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – “It’s okay to not be okay”, Daniel Hurd stressed at his talk this morning held at the UnityPoint Health-St. Luke’s Auditorium. Daniel Hurd is from New England and is biking across the lower 48 states to help raise suicide awareness.

Daniel had a lot of struggles in his life, from childhood to adulthood. He now suffered from PTSD from his rough childhood and his time in the Navy.

Through those struggles, he thought he had no purpose in life and tried to commit suicide on three separate occasions.

After his third failed attempt to commit suicide, one of his friends helped him get back on his feet through bicycling. Daniel said he was begged for at least 5 years to go cycling with his friend, and after he finally agreed, he noticed some changes.

Cycling slowly became a hobby and passion of his, but it was a long road to get there. When he started cycling with his friend, they would add miles to their rides on a daily and weekly basis. One weekend, they biked 166 miles, and on the way home, Daniel said he was struggling. He wanted it to be over, but his friend kept him going.

“It’s one pedal at a time. It’s right, left, right, left,” Daniel’s friend told him.

That phrase is what Daniel thought about to get through the rest of that 166-mile bike ride, and that is the phrase that Daniel sticks to, to this very day.

He has spent the last two years planning out his journey to bike across the lower 48 states to help raise suicide awareness and help others along the way.

Daniel started this journey with no money and very little on his bike. He did this to show those who feel like they have nothing, that they can succeed and grow, that they have a purpose. Everything he needs he carries on his bike or on his back at all times. And when he’s done riding for the day, he pitches a tent; however, sometimes people offer to buy him a hotel room or offer a place to sleep for the night.

Daniel started his journey in Plymouth, Massachusettes on March 5, 2018, and is currently on day 32 of his traveling journey. As of this moment in time, Daniel has traveled about 14, 000 miles already. He follows the phrase “It’s one pedal at a time” because not every day is easy going on his journey. He has uphill battles and downhill battles along the way.

Daniel has suffered from severe cramps from biking through his journey so far. He has also been involved in some hit-and-run accidents where he has had to find parts for his bike.

He shared that he was losing faith in people and in the world, but throughout his journey to this point, he has had his faith slowly restored in humanity. He said he has met people who want to ride along with him for a few miles to a few days, people have helped him by giving him meals, places to sleep, and donations towards his cause.

Daniel has started a non-profit organization called One Pedal At A Time to help spread his word and help spread suicide awareness.

The main thing Daniel wants those who are struggling to remember is to talk to people about what you are feeling. Talking about it helps get whatever is dragging you down get lifted and helps you feel better. He wants people to get involved in their communities, and most importantly, to know it’s okay to not be okay.

Through his journey, he is not only healing himself, but he has helped many others along the way. He said just saying hello to someone can turn their day around. He shared that he said hello to someone on his journey, and he noticed something wasn’t right, so he stopped to talk with them. The person he said hello to expressed that they had not been acknowledged in days, and Daniel was the first to acknowledge them. This person opened up and told Daniel they were going to commit suicide, but after talking with Daniel, they were no longer going to.

Daniel has stopped several people from going to commit suicide on his journey, and he hopes to continue to help those struggling as he continues his journey. He wants people to reach out to him if they feel like they have no one to talk to, or don’t know how to bring it up to others. He has an open heart and mind and wants people to know that they have a purpose.

If you would like to join his movement or become part of his non-profit organization for promoting suicide awareness through bicycling you can go to his website One Pedal At A Time.

If you would like to keep up with him through the rest of his journey, and/ or to see where he’s been so far, you can follow him on social media @RideWithDanUSA or by visiting Ride With Dan USA.

Daniel will be hosting one more public talk at UnityPoint Health-St. Lukes tomorrow, Saturday, September 27, at 10:00 a.m. in the St. Lukes Auditorium.

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