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Veteran hikes 222 miles to raise awareness about deadly trend

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- A Marine veteran hiked 222 miles over 10 days to bring awareness to active duty and veteran suicide, according to WTKR.

Shane Stephens started in Camp Lejeune, N.C on Nov. 30. His journey ended at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront in front of the Neptune Statue, just before 4 p.m on Saturday, Dec. 9.

Stephens said he felt hope from humanity as he hiked 22 miles a day to complete the mission.

“Whether it was food, whether it was water, whether it was offering me a ride which couldn't take until last night because it got cold, dark and rainy,” he said. “We got held up by good people. I mean everyone wanted to stop and talk.”

Shane Stephens

Shane Stephens

The last day of his Ruck was for Christopher Lim, a Salem High school student who committed suicide at school on Nov. 30.

"You don't have to be military to struggle with stuff," Stephens said. "Struggle comes in every shape every form, every shade, every age. It does not discriminate."

Bill Ciccone's son, James.

Bill Ciccone's son, James.

Stephens is an advocate for the non profit End 22 chapter in Georgia.

Bill Ciccone, who founded End 22, offered an alarming statistic about the military.

"We loose an average of 22 veterans every single day from suicide," Ciccone said.

Stephens dedicated the walk to Ciccone, who lost his son James to suicide after he returned home from Iraq in 2012.

The pair hope to spread the message of love and support those who need it most.

Shane Stephens arrives in Virginia Beach.

Shane Stephens arrives in Virginia Beach.

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