It’s the ultimate American road trip, 3945km of open road from Chicago to Santa Monica, and an inspirational Gold Coaster is doing it on a skateboard.
Damien Rider has just started out on the endurance challenge on Route 66, on the anniversary of the day the famous US highway was decommissioned in 1985.
The founder of the Rider Foundation is using the journey to raise awareness of child abuse and teach others the tools to overcome post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
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Damien explains how he carried around his own child abuse demons for 30 years, until he completed a record-breaking 800km solo paddle down the east coast of Australia.
“After the paddle, it was like I pressed the reset button on my life. All those memories, emotions, thoughts, smells, feelings that I was carrying with me just seemed to fade away and disappear,” Damien tells myGC.
“A lot of professionals say I’m the only person they know who has successfully beaten PTSD.
“When I get back to the Gold Coast I’m going to work with a psychologist to start teaching other professionals the tools so they can pass it on to their clients,” he explains.
Named the 2015 Men’s Health Man of the Year for his determination to improve the future of other sufferers, Damien wants others to join him on his latest journey.
“I’m inviting everyone in the world to join in. Whether they’re on the road with me or not, I’m hoping it’s enough to be able to get them up and moving.
“I’m hoping it’s going to be enough to go: ‘You know what? I’m going to re-start my life right now on Route 66 with this guy skateboarding across the country’.
“We’ve got 66 days to do it in. That’s no rest, just every single day trying to save as many people as we can and inspire people around the world.”
A photo posted by Damien Rider (@damienrider_foundation) on
“This is what I’m going to do for the rest of my life now. We are here to learn and pass on that knowledge to other people to help us grow. We owe it to everyone else to be there for one another and put a bit of care in to other people’s needs.”
You can help keep the wheels rolling on Damien’s challenge by heading to his Go Fund Me page.