(Springfield, Mo.) A Springfield native is loading up for a ride around the country on a 1,000 mile bike ride to raise awareness for a cause near to his heart.
A 25-year-old has started a 1,000 mile bike ride that has a special meaning for him and the people he's helping along the way.
"I love to be moving, I love to be outside, why not pair it with a cause," explains Vinai "Thomas" Uthipratuma.
The perception that you can achieve anything you want if you put your mind to it can be especially difficult for those like Thomas' father who suffered with a mental illness after losing his job.
"My dad had fallen into a very deep depression seeing that he couldn’t support the family as much as he could."
The overwhelming stigma of mental illness can prevent many from moving forward with their lives.
"I tried as much as I could to help my dad to push past any of the pain he was feeling and also help him find jobs, but it just kept slipping and slipping."
That's why Thomas is helping to end that stigma, "It’s okay to just open up and disclose about issues with their mental health. Whether it’s suicide, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, bi polar, depression, anxiety, those things are okay to talk about and as a society we really need to be more accepting."
And save the lives of those who suffered in silence like his father by cycling around different cities and raising $10,000 for Mental Health America.
"You are not alone, you have a community of people who will listen. If you ever feel like you’re isolated or if you ever feel like there’s no other option, there always is."
With every push of the peddle, he will reflect on his cause and love for his father who brought him to care about it so much.
"Our dad really taught us to live and how to love and through this challenge and fundraiser I really want to spread what our dad taught us."
Click Here If you want to track Thomas' progress, to learn more about the ride, or to donate to his cause.