about 22 and you
22 and You Foundation was founded by Marine, Firefighter, and Sony recording artist John Preston as a movement to save lives of first responders and veterans suffering from post traumatic stress. John started the movement by embarking on a 630 mile hike from Palo Alto to San Diego that caught the attention of many individuals including first responders and veterans to walk alongside John. Encouraged by John’s perseverance, these fellow hikers shared their own personal battles or stories of loss as they descended the California coast together. John brought along a film crew also composed of veterans and first responders that not only covered the hike but helped him push on to the finish line on the USS Midway.
“At the core of this endeavor, I am a little brother that lost his older brother. I will walk forward for our community as I have for my family these past few years. Every day, every mile I walk symbolizes a life – a life of someone who believed they could no longer be here and decided their only option was death. I will do all I can to stop this epidemic that has struck our nation’s veterans, law enforcement officers, and firefighters.”
The movement was inspired by the loss of John’s older brother Michael in January 2016. After Michael’s passing, John had two singles about combatting suicide into the DRT Top 20 and iTunes Top 200, charting with some of the most popular rock and pop artists in the world. The success of his music was getting attention, but John never found a way to fully explain the experience of losing his brother with words alone. He thought if he put himself through horrific physical pain, he may be able to finally express to the world the pain of losing a loved one to suicide. 22 miles a day, 28 days, with a 22-kilogram rucksack.
This story and movement have evolved to represent far more than the loss of a brother. Since completing the hike in February, though working through current restrictions with Covid-19, we have continued to film and document the stories of these other hikers as we approach the editing process of what we intend to be a 4 part mini-series of our hike and the struggles of mental health.