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Woman passes through Pittsburgh on cross-country bike ride to honor her son and break the stigma around mental health

Bicyclist passes through Pittsburgh on her 3,000-mile journey
Bicyclist passes through Pittsburgh on her 3,000-mile journey 02:56

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Can you imagine biking 3,000 miles? One woman is doing just that across America and she's riding through Pittsburgh on Tuesday.  

Since March 9, Debbie Curtis has pedaled across the country on a 48-day journey in honor of her late son, Brock Wesley Curtis. She's made it over 2,300 so far, starting in San Diego and planning to end in New York City.

The whole time, she's honoring the life and legacy of her son Brock Curtis. 

"Anybody would describe him as the typical all-American boy. He was a very good athlete, 6-foot-3, handsome young man," she said.

Brock was a world traveler, athlete and outdoorsy guy. He was also one of four kids, but behind the smiling pictures, he battled with bipolar disorder. 

"From high school to when you really get established, it's a stressful time. And then you throw an illness on top of it, an unseen illness, and it's too much for some people," Debbie Curtis said.

At 24 years young, he lost his battle to mental illness in 2021. So Debbie focused on helping others struggling with their mental health through her nonprofit 4TeamBrock and raising awareness with a cross-country bike ride.

"He was always about helping others so I think this journey would make him proud and I know he's riding with me," she said.

Debbie Curtis said she wants to raise at least $25,000 and 100% of the donations will go towards the program to help others. 

"Suicide is such a horrible problem across the country, and I thought, you know, if I take this journey as a 62-year-old woman riding by herself across the country, maybe it could draw a little bit of attention," she said. 

This former New York teacher at Niagara University just bought the bike eight months ago, but from the Pacific to the Atlantic coasts, she's breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, one state at a time. 

"Health is health and sometimes people just need to be listened to and supported," she said. 

She's expected to arrive in NYC by April 24. You can follow her journey here

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or a suicidal crisis, you can reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline here.

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