The former Marine completed multiple tours of duty. He’s finished one of the most grueling mountain bike races in the world, The Grand Tour of MTB — a self-supported, single-stage, 2,768.4 mile event. And, he’s started a grassroots organization, Pedal Against PTSD, to help veterans battling post-traumatic stress disorder by getting them bicycles.
Pedal Against PTSD is a response to a publicized broken Veteran Administration (VA). Veterans often have to wait 30 to 60 days to see a health care professional.
This wait can be fatal for those with severe PTSD. One study reports a veteran commits suicide almost hourly: 22 vets commit suicide, daily.
“Most VA’s can’t get enough to help to facilitate all the vets’ needs,” said Campagna. “The waiting list for an appointment is crazy … I look at the bike as alternate medicine for these guys. If someone is calling me and saying, ‘Hey, I need to get a bike,’ it’s like me calling the VA and saying, ‘Hey I need to get some medication,’ or ‘Hey, I need to see somebody.’”
Campagna started Pedal Against PTSD in 2013.
The former marine, who has battled PTSD, was prepping to participate in the Tour Divide race, and decided he wanted his adventure to raise awareness for the condition.
After the race, while working full time as a bike mechanic, Campagna set up a Facebook page to continue to built awareness, occasionally posting updates in-between bike repairs.
Fast-forward to one year later, a few like-minded folks convinced him to set-up a nonprofit. Pedal Against PTSD became official about nine months ago.