Brown & Brown exec races across U.S. for mental health awareness
News-Journal - 6/22/2019
In an effort to raise money for mental health awareness and support a friend stricken with muscular dystrophy, Brown & Brown CEO J. Powell Brown embarked on a 3,100 mile bike race across the U.S. on June 15.
Brown's eight-person team, FSHD Skyland Trail, is participating in the Race Across America, a nine-day race which spans 12 states, 170,000 vertical feet and is one of the longest running ultra-endurance events. The race originated in 1982 when four individuals raced from the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles to the Empire State Building in New York City.
Brown, a Daytona Beach resident, joined the team after watching his longtime friend George Pollock participate the last two years.
"George is living with FSH muscular dystrophy," Brown wrote an email while participating in the race. "After watching him, I was inspired to challenge myself and ride with him and support causes that we are passionate about."
Since the start of the race in Oceanside, California, Brown has raised well over his goal of $1 million for Skyland Trail, an Atlanta-based non-profit that offers support for people coping with mental illness.
"We are raising awareness, helping to erase the stigma associated with mental illness and raising money for education, research and treatment of these serious disorders which affect so many of our friends, family, and colleagues," wrote Brown. "Suicide is the second leading cause of death in youth ages 10 to 24. I'm riding to change that."
The money raised for Skyland Trail will specifically benefit their new J. Rex Fuqua Campus for adolescents.
While Brown is racing to mental health awareness, his friend Pollock is raising funds for the FSH Society, an organization that funds research for a specific form of muscular dystrophy that primarily impacts the muscles of the face, shoulder blades and upper arms.
"Being able to participate in this race alongside George while raising awareness for causes that are personal to us is a tremendous honor," Brown wrote. "I appreciate all of the support that our team has received, and I'm proud of the positive impact that these funds will have on education, research, and treatment of these serious diseases and disorders that can affect our friends, family, and colleagues."
When asked how he trained for the race, Brown responded "Let's just say I did a lot of pedaling."
The race is set to conclude on Sunday in Annapolis, Maryland.
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