A College of St. Scholastica graduate and Hermantown native will take the journey of a lifetime later this spring, riding a bicycle across the country to raise awareness about mental health.
David Romano, who works as a social worker at the Miller Dwan Amberwing Center, will cycle across the country starting April 2. The six-week trip will begin in San Francisco and end in Washington, D.C., and Romano will stop to give presentations along the way.
Diagnosed with depression, Romano has been traveling the country sharing his own story through the non-profit mental health advocacy group Active Minds. The group's goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues.
"I really want my audiences to start that conversation on mental health; open up that dialogue," Romano said. "That's the only way that the stigma surrounding mental health can be destroyed, and we can start to be happy with ourselves and proud of who we are."
A national official with Active Minds lauds Romano's work.
"He is doing good in the world by helping folks feel less alone and more empowered," said Margaret Bertram, Active Minds associate director of training and education. "In my book, that makes him a hero."
The Active Minds chapter at St. Scholastica is hosting a send-off for Romano at 7 p.m. Friday, March 20, in the Mitchell Auditorium on campus. The public is invited to hear Romano's inspirational story and learn more about mental health awareness. Romano graduated from St. Scholastica last December with a bachelor's degree in social work.
To make a donation for Romano's cross-country trip, visit http://www.gofundme.com/formentalhealth.