The backpack is out again, new Brooks athletic shoes have been purchased, and tomorrow I will walk out the door towards Washington, D.C. — Denis Asselin
In 2012, Denis Asselin walked over 500 miles, or over 1 million steps, from his home in Cheyney, PA, all the way to Boston, MA. He was a man possessed — possessed by his grief, and the need to do something with that energy… convert it somehow into a force for good. A year before, his young son Nathaniel, just 24 years old, had taken his own life after a long struggle with severe OCD and body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). And so Denis started walking, telling Nathaniel’s story to those he met along the way, and raising money for the IOCDF to support BDD and OCD research and awareness. Denis raised over $25,000 on his journey. And he touched countless lives with his story.
Denis Asselin is still walking. Today he embarks on another journey, setting out from his home in Cheyney, PA, to walk all the way to Washington, DC. Denis hopes to continue to bring his message of OCD and BDD awareness to mental health programs, universities, lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and anyone else he meets along the way. You can view his 2013 walk itinerary here.
IOCDF spokesperson Jeff Bell, recently interviewed Denis for an A2A Podcast to learn more about his walk, and his plans for this new pilgrimage. You can listen to the podcast below, or here.
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You can also follow along with Denis’ journey on his blog: walkingwithnathaniel.org. We will also be checking in occasionally with Denis here on this blog, and will be tweeting updates of his progress from our Twitter account @IOCDF. This year, we are also encouraging you to walk “with Denis” in spirit, by joining the 1 Million+ Steps 4 OCD Awareness Walk as a virtual walker, or signing up to attend our June 8th walk in Boston. As Denis remarked at the end of his walk in 2012, he’s travelled a million steps for OCD awareness, but we have so many millions to go.
People in the OCD community have already pledged to walk over 8 million steps, and have raised over $25,000 since the walk campaign began just over a month ago! Let’s see if we can hit 10 million steps and far surpass our original fundraising goal of $25,000. Join us!
If you would like to support Denis’ walk, but do not want to join as a walker yourself, you can also donate directly to his fundraising efforts here.