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'A Walking Testimony': Man passes through Utah on coast-to-coast journey for addiction recovery, mental health

Posted at 8:32 PM, Mar 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-05 00:01:55-05

PROVO, Utah — Kyndal Ray, a man who battled addiction and mental illness in his life, has embarked on a journey to spread the message that "your past does not define you."

Ray's mission brought him all the way from Florida to Utah in a unique way as he walks across America to raise awareness for mental health.

Ray was a special guest on the Addicts to Athletes podcast, where he shared his story with listeners.

"It was just so important when I was in the midst of my addiction. I just... it wasn't good," Ray said.

"People just kind of automatically have felt that his story would resonate with us, and it did," said Coach Blu Robinson, the co-founder of Addicts to Athletes.

A year ago, Ray started his journey from Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to Lapush, Washington.

"I'm walking across America for mental health awareness," Ray said.

He wears a shirt with 180 names of people who lost their lives to drug overdose or suicide, representing a 180-degree turn in his own life.

Ray has overcome many obstacles on his journey, including attempting suicide, overdosing, and spending time in jail and prison.

"January 12 made 45 months drug-free. That's the absolute biggest accomplishment of my life," Ray said.

Despite the thousands of miles and health problems he has faced, Ray is still going. He takes his time and stops everywhere he can to talk and listen to the battles of addiction, depression, and other mental illnesses that so many have.

"For Kyndal, it isn’t about the destination — it's about the journey and what it stands for," said a member of his support team.

Ray's message is resonating with many people.

"I’m a firm believer that there is hope, that our pasts do not define us, and that we do recover," Ray said.

You can follow Kyndal Ray on his journey here.