Michael Samsen said goodbye to his wife Monday before beginning the long journey from Stamford, Connecticut to Alaska and back.
“It’ll be a couple months, a little over 17,000 miles,” says Samsen. “I’ll end up going all the way through Canada, all the way through Alaska up to the Arctic Ocean twice.”
And he’s doing it all on a motorcycle. Samsen’s journey started out as a retirement trip, but slowly evolved into something much more meaningful.
“It’s very personal, yeah.”
Samsen is riding in honor of his brother Mark, who committed suicide three years ago.
“My brother had bi-polar disorder and it was a long, tough journey for him and he finally lost the battle and took his own life,” says Samsen. “But there are a lot of people that are in similar situations.”
That’s why Samsen decided to turn his trip into a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“Given that it’s going to be in Alaska and around the Arctic Circle where there is no darkness on a summer solstice which is coming up, I decided wow what a cool way to tie it together and call this ride the “Into the Light Ride” and raise money for the foundation and tie it into their “Out of the Darkness” walks.”
Samsen has raised $2,000 so far with hopes of surpassing his $5,000 goal. But what’s just as important, he says, is bringing attention to an issue that is too often swept under the rug.
“This is a really good way to just talk to people and talk to them about the problem, hand out cards” says Samsen. “Maybe they’ll give some money, maybe they’ll follow the ride, maybe they’ll just be more aware of it; but it’s all good. It gives purpose to what will be a fun journey.”
To follow Samsen’s journey and learn how you can donate, visit facebook.com/IntoTheLightRide