about 22 and you
22 and You Hike
22 and You is a hike built to strengthen community and encourage veterans and first responders struggling with mental health to seek help and strive for positive change.
Our founder, John Preston, a Marine combat veteran and professional firefighter, tragically lost his older brother Michael (Marine and Police Officer) to suicide in 2016. John set out to make a difference by putting his own body and well-being on the line with the intention to save the lives of others who may find themselves in similar situations as his brother.
Carrying a 50-lb (22-kg) pack, John walked more than 600 miles down the coast of California from Palo Alto to San Diego, which took 28 days of walking 22+ miles a day. The struggles and challenges were beyond belief as he decimated his body for love of his older brother.
Thousands met John along the way to share their story and walk along his side. Later when his body began to fail, many people moved by John’s story showed up to literally help him carry the weight of his pack to ensure he made it successfully down the coast. The experience of the hike with all of its intensity and almost insurmountable obstacles have led us to today.
On November 11, 2023 John and his wife Cory (retired San Francisco Firefighter) will walk the East Coast an estimated 704 miles. The hike will span from Parris Island, South Carolina (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) where his brother’s ashes are spread, through their hometown in Warsaw, Kentucky and finally ending in Cincinnati, Ohio where Preston will set the pack down for good on December 12, 2023.
“We are bringing this home… we have to bring this home. Thousands were at Michael’s funeral and they need their opportunity to close this chapter, to honor my brother in the purest of ways, at our side, in unity, with love.”
22 and You film “Carry the Weight”
Prior to the hike, John spent many years of his life documenting his journey from the war in Iraq to his hard-fought rise in the music industry. John had several top 200 songs as a Sony recording artist highlighting topics such as mental health awareness and was in the public spotlight as an advocate for veteran and first responder mental health prior to losing his brother Michael. The magic of the hike was born from the rubble of John’s broken heart and was thoroughly documented with compelling footage.