Thursday morning, Mike Maples will leave Bismarck and ride his motorcycle to Texas, alongside some friends. But it’s not just any ride.

He’s making the thousand-mile trip to Amarillo this weekend to raise awareness for suicide prevention in North Dakota. The motivation is personal to Maples — he lost his stepson to suicide a few years ago.

Along the way, he hopes to gain business sponsors before an even bigger ride planned in July of 2022 from the Canadian border to the Mexican border. Next year’s “Wish You Were Here Ride” will raise money for North Dakota’s Suicide Prevention Coalition.

“When my stepson passed away, I had a real hard time with a lot of it. I went to some counseling for a little bit. I’m not one that really likes to talk as far as how I feel, my problems, my feelings. But the motorcycle for me is my therapy. I get on it, and pretty soon, I don’t need to ride very far, and all my issues kind of blow in the wind. I’ve always called it handlebar therapy,” Maples said.

Maples will be back in Bismarck Sunday night. To check out more info on the ride next July, head here.

If you or someone you know is struggling, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has free and confidential support at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). To contribute to the North Dakota Suicide Prevention Coalition, head here.