Interested in joining the ride? If you are a cyclist who believes in the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation’s mission to bring an end to depression and suicide, please join us and help Light the Trail.
When I share the idea of riding a bicycle 1826 miles, I usually get one of those “are you nuts” looks from just about everyone. It was the same look I gave my friend, Isaac, who envisioned the ride concept in the first place. It didn’t take me long to buy in as I pondered the notion of riding across America to expand the dialogue regarding depression and suicide. Isaac, my partner in this adventure, is one of those special people who has found ways throughout his lifetime to inspire and motivate folks to pursue things that…too most…just seem too farfetched.
This country’s journey to better understand mental illness and its effects on a substantial number of people has miles to go. Our society doesn’t allow enough opportunities for those who are struggling to readily reveal their illness and easily get treatment without barriers. It’s not in our nature to admit that we have depression, and our families naturally try and keep it quiet during therapy. We must change the conversation and establish the fact that depression is a serious mental illness. We must give it the attention that it deserves when it comes to eliminating the stigma surrounding those who suffer and those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
As we ride from Minnesota to Louisiana, I’ll share Jordan’s story proudly and share all her wonderful attributes and stories with those that we meet in every community we visit. We’ll talk about the extraordinary young lady who always focused on helping people around her, near and far. We’ll talk about Jordan’s foundation and the important work it’s doing in the North Texas community that’s focused on depression research and suicide prevention programs. We’ll also expand on the idea of how other communities might mimic our efforts. Most importantly, we will listen to others who want to share their story.
We do this ride in honor of my daughter, Jordan Elizabeth, and the thousands of people who are struggling today and who have struggled in the past.
I remember exactly where I was when I received the call informing me that Jordan Elizabeth Harris had died. What I couldn’t rationalize at the time was how this incredibly special young woman, whom I had watched grow up and who was the light of so many people’s lives, could take her own life. Twenty months later, a young man at my sons’ high school took his as well. Two years after that, 16 Paschal High students signed a suicide pact and two of them actually took their lives before an intervention team funded by the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation stepped in.
I am riding because I don’t ever want to go to another funeral for a child who has been so overwhelmed by darkness that taking their own life would be the only option.
I come from a long line people who have wrestled with depression over the generations. I wrestled with it through much of my teens and early adulthood; I know full well its depths and its impact. I am fortunate that with the help of friends and by what I used to call running-to-daylight, I kept the darkness at bay. I have been fortunate that my family has thus far been spared. We are the lucky ones. As my wife, Libby, likes to say about southern families, “Yall’d much rather sweep something unpleasant under the rug than deal with it head on.” The Light the Trail ride is my response to this deadly notion of denying depression’s existence. It’s time to do something about it.
Everyone has a story. Our ride is about making it ok to share those stories. We need to “bring the conversation to light” along our route and around the country with this ride. We want to put an end to the tragedy and the stigma and to eradicate suicide as an option. When confronted with the choice of darkness or light, I am riding because I choose light and life. I hope that others will follow.
Lezlie Culver, my wife and Madalene Culver’s Mother, introduced me to Tom and Ellen shortly after they lossed Jordan to suicide. They started the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation with the goal to bring the conversation to light about mental illness, suicide and provide any and all resources available to prevent suicide. Their dedication is tremendous and they are making a serious impact on suicide prevention and awareness. There is still much work that needs to be done.
Lezlie also dreamed of the day the stigma of Mental Health issues and Suicide would be erased. Every day she woke up and worked on removing that stigma….every day. Her journey started back when her Mother passed by suicide, then she lost her sister to suicide as well. This resulted in Lezlie starting LOSS (Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors of Tarrant County) and working with special, special people dedicated to Suicide awareness and prevention..such as the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation.
I ride for Lezlie, her Mom Mary, her sister Dayna, Jordan and all the people that have lost loved ones to suicide, most importantly my wonderful daughter Madalene. Mental Illness is real, it impacts us all differently and it should be discussed. Everyone of us will have different degrees of mental illness in our lifetime. Suicide and suicidal thoughts are linked to Mental Health issues. Suicide is not inherited, it is not in your DNA, the thoughts should be discussed and it can be treated and prevented. There is still much work to be done, please support us any way you can.
Many thoughts go through my mind as I remember the portion of Light the Trail 2017 that I rode with Ellen, Tom, Isaac and Libby. Our family story started a number of years before that ride with a doctor entering a visitation room and asking three questions, “Have you thought about suicide today? Do you have a plan? Have you acted on it?” I was stunned. That day I began a journey that eventually led me to a place where I better understand the depth of the pain that some endure as a result of depression. It took a number of years, but this journey did lead to a place where I could be of help. The shocking thing however, is that the issues and problems I began to understand were unlike any that I had been exposed to before. As a husband, or as a father, or as a former coach, or even as a small business owner, the type of problems that I had faced to that point were by comparison routine and everyday occurrences which could easily be solved. All I needed was a bit of focus, some hard work and maybe some patience. If the problems were difficult, then there was always a readily available network of friends, or family members, or business associates who could assist. However, I had never been exposed to the medical, physical and emotional issues surrounding depression and suicide; including how few people are willing to talk about these topics. And this is why The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation has shined over the past ten years; they understand, they care and they listen.
During my short LTT tour, when someone heard about why we were riding, EVERYONE shared their own story. They were relieved in many ways to be able to tell someone else. They were empowered to know that they were not alone. And an amazing aspect of this is that the sharing of these stories was not limited to quiet places where no one else could hear. People shared on the side of the road, at a motel, at a gas station, or at a local diner. People wanted to talk and people wanted to connect. The memories were close, the wounds were deep and the emotions were raw. In many stories we also heard gratitude and relief. They were relieved to be able to share with someone who would listen and who might in some small way understand. And while the 2017 ride was successful in so many ways, more work remains to be done and many more people are out there that need to share their stories.
I am participating in the 2022 ride, for a number of reasons: 1) to support those who are doing the hard work to help others that are suffering the loss of a friend or a family member, 2) to show to those who suffer from depression that they are not alone, and that many are willing to listen and to help, and 3) to tell more people that depression is common but that suicide does not have to be.
In 2018, our oldest son Matt, took his life.
Soon after Matt died we were introduced to Tom and Ellen Harris. The Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation they established to honor their daughter is making a difference. The goal and mission of the foundation is to prevent suicide, eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health and suicide, and give hope to people struggling with depression.
We knew and saw right away this was an organization with a strategy to give hope and support to others. The foundations message of “Shining a Light on Depression and Suicide” is a perfect message. We need a world where depression and mental health can be talked about and treated openly. We need a world where suicide is never the choice. This won’t happen if we don’t act and support efforts to make this happen.
My wife Libby, who is the bravest and most courageous person I know, became QPR certified trainer (Question, Persuade, Refer) through the JEH Foundation. She soon was teaching others including our local first responders within the Colleyville police department and fire departments. She also helped as Hope Squads were introduced into our local school district. I saw first-hand the emotion and strength it took to do that.
When I heard about the “Light the Trail” ride this year, I knew I had to be a part of it. There is not a bike ride I go on that I don’t think a lot about Matt. As we ride along the Mississippi down to New Orleans, we’ll get a chance to share our story in communities along the way, we’ll encourage others, and hopefully we’ll help light the way to ending depression and suicide.
I ride so another parent, family, and friend never have to bury their loved one due to suicide. I ride for our sons Scott and Brett who not only lost their big brother, but also their best friend. I ride for the bravery and hard work of all the people that support this mission. I ride so others will freely share their experiences which can lead to healing. I ride for Matt.
It could have been yesterday, but it was not. I will never be able to wash from my memory the call I received, now over 20 years ago, from my now oldest sister telling me my then oldest sister, Susan, had taken her life by suicide. Devastated doesn’t quite capture the sadness and intensity of emotion I felt at that moment. Seeing in the days and years ahead how it impacted my parents, my siblings, and other family and friends was difficult to say the least.
Over time, I have strived to overcome the loss of Susan, mitigating that challenge with ‘acts of healing’. I do my best to look after family, friends, and others with greater intention, I cherish each day more fully, and I seek opportunities to help create more awareness around the reality of mental health disorders in the lives of many. I was blessed to find and come to know the work of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation.
My hope is that the ‘Light the Trail’ ride serves as a celebration of life and an opportunity for more people to feel comfortable in ‘bringing the conversation to light’, talking freely and sharing the truth about how they personally or how loved ones are impacted by mental health and suicide. I believe sharing our stories, knowing we are not alone in our grief and healing, is one way to ‘Light the Trail’ about depression and anxiety and help prevent those that we know and love from choosing suicide.
It’s hard to believe that this year marks the 10-year anniversary of the day we lost my big sister, Jordan. I remember just about every detail from that day. From the phone call where my dad told me what had happened, to the 40-minute flight from Austin to DFW that felt like 4 hours, to the house filled with people when I arrived at my childhood home in North Richland Hills, TX. It was a day filled with immense sorrow, but also so much love.
Jordan was my role model. She was kind, smart, beautiful and had the greatest sense of humor. Growing up, we had our moments of typical sister bickering, but for the most part, I just always wanted to be around her. And I don’t think I was alone. Jordan would walk into a room with a certain light about her that everyone would gravitate towards.
Jordan’s death shook our community to its core. No one could comprehend that someone like her, someone with such a kind, happy soul and a lust for life, could take her own life. I think it was a wake-up call for our community and beyond to take mental health and suicide more seriously. Suicide was such a foreign concept to me until Jordan died. I wish I had known then what I know now about depression and suicide.
When my parents, Tom and Ellen, along with many others completed the first Light the Trail bike ride in 2017, I was inspired. I saw what an incredible impact it made, not just in the Dallas-Ft. Worth community, but on a national level. I pledged to myself that if they ever decided to do it again, I would take part.
And here we are. Riding across the country, from north to south this time, we’ll continue to take these conversations on the road via bikes and shine a light on mental health. I’m looking forward to sharing my story, Jordan’s story and discussing the important work that the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation is doing. But I’m even more excited to hear everyone else’s story, and I hope I can help make a difference somewhere along the way.
I ride for Jordan, and the millions of others who have been impacted by depression and suicide. I want to let people who are suffering in silence know that it’s ok not to be ok, and it’s ok to talk about it.
Jim Kearney is joining the Light the Ride gang in Galena Illinois and hoping to rekindle friendships from the last ride. I have been reflecting on the amazing impact Jordan Elizabeth made in her short time with all of us. I am so glad to be able to join Ellen, Tom and Elisha as well as my middle daughter Mary Kelley. Ellen and Tom have been such an inspiration to my family, and I am amazed and their strength. I have told them both that they make me want to live a better life.
Born in the same hospital on the same day as Tom Harris.
Co-founded a dance gang with Tom in 1969, known as the Dirt Road Dancers.
Graduated from Christian Brothers Academy 1972.
Has One wife and three daughters and a son- Linda, Sarah, Mary Kelley and Amy and son Michael James (d).
Graduated from University of Dayton, 1976.
Co-founded Eire Partners Inc. in 1987 in the merchandise syndication business and advertising agency business.
Co-Founded MedProperties Group 2008.
Co-founded Angels Grace Hospice and Angels for Hospice Charities in 2010.
Enjoys playing and watching competitive team sports of any kind.
I will be joining Light the Trail from Galena, IL to St. Louis, MO. I’m looking forward to meeting the special crew riding for Jordan and those who are affected by depression and suicide.
I have been training for this ride all summer long throughout the Illinois and Wisconsin trails with biking friends, including my dad and Elisha. Biking is one of my favorite ways to exercise, it helps me clear my head, increases my mood, and reminds me to stay in the moment.
I have much admiration for the Harris Family for their strength and continuing to remember Jordan and her light. Elisha and I have become great friends over the last five years, living in the same building. She has told me many stories of Jordan and how her smile, laugh and energy would light up a room. I’ve come to notice that Elisha and Jordan share these same qualities, helping to shine Jordan’s memory to us all.
Elisha has enlightened me to understand more about those who have struggled with depression and suicide, and how important it is to have supportive family and friends. I look forward to riding with Elisha, her family and Light the Trail in support of those who have struggled with depression and suicide.
Mary grew up in Park Ridge, IL in a very loving family. She is the middle child with two sisters.
Graduated from University of Dayton, OH in 2007
She moved to Aspen, CO from 2009-2014 and worked as a concierge at a high-end ski town resort.
Now, lives in Chicago and works as a Flight Attendant for American Airlines for over 6 years and working part-time doing charity and marketing work for a Hospice in Bolingbrook, IL along side her dad, Jim.
She has a love for travel and the outdoors. If she’s not biking, she is hanging with friends, gardening, skiing or hiking.
Doug is an attorney for the City of Fort Worth public works departments. As an avid cyclist, Doug has a personal interest in ensuring Fort Worth’s roads and trails are bicycle friendly. Doug is also a soccer player and coach and recently upgraded his 40 year old pickleball paddle and now plays several times a week. Doug also loves to ski or hike when in Colorado. Being active is Doug’s life mantra and these sports help him clear his mind after (or before) a day’s work.
Doug began attending the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation luncheons with his wife, Jill, who is also riding. Listening to the presentations opened his eyes to the need for more visible community programs related to depression and suicide. Personally experiencing the tragedy of suicide just over a year ago gave additional emphasis to the importance of the Light the Trail Ride and the awareness the foundation brings not only to the Fort Worth area, but to other communities as well, especially along the ride route.
I remember hearing all about the 2017 LTT ride from my good friend, Lezlie Culver. I remember hearing about what a heart warming experience it had been being able to talk openly about struggles with mental health issues and not feel any stigma. I also remember vividly when Chris called me to tell me that Lezlie had died by suicide. I had just been with her a few days before laughing and telling fun stories as she always did, it just couldn’t be.
A few months prior to Lezlie’s death, she and I had spent about 14 hours together in the car. We had a girl’s weekend at a ranch in South Texas and while the trip was so much fun, I also remember the pain on Lezlie’s face when she talked about her struggles. She wanted desperately to be OK and loved her family so much. In the end, I truly feel like she felt like her family and the world were better off without her. I miss her everyday and I ride for Lezlie and all those who struggle with the pain of mental health issues and the void left in our lives when we lose someone. I love you Lezlie Culver, even if I am going to be cursing your name at mile 56.
Brenda and I are delighted to support the Light the Trail Ride, and I am thrilled to be able to join the ride from Memphis to New Orleans. I am doing this to help highlight the important work of the Jordan Elizabeth Harris Foundation. I am riding to support those who have suffered loss by suicide in their own immediate family. I am riding to remember Ricky Rice, my cousin who took his own life at age 18. I am riding to support the effort to help those suffering from depression to know there is hope and others who will listen and help.
Adam D. Grossman is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Papa & Barkley, the leading California consumer products company selling cannabis-based pain and wellness products - including topicals such as pain balms and transdermal patches, and consumables including edibles, tinctures and capsules. Papa & Barkley is the top selling company in the topicals and tinctures submarkets in the regulated California cannabis market. Prior to founding Papa & Barkley, Mr. Grossman was a founder and principal of The Alta Fund, a boutique investment fund and advisory firm. Grossman is an active investor and serves on the board of several privately held companies. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts and his JD and MBA degrees from Georgetown University. He is active in charitable organizations and community development projects in Dallas, New York City and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Peter Conway grew up in New Orleans as one of 7 children. After attending Vanderbilt University and then getting his MBA at UNC’s Kenan Flagler Business School, Peter and his wife Sandra lived in Charlotte for 30 years where they raised their three children – Peter Jr. (29), Ben (27) and Adelaide (25). While in Charlotte, Peter co-founded the commercial real estate firm Trinity Partners, and its acquisition and development company Trinity Capital Advisors. Since retiring from any active role with Trinity in 2021, Sandra and Peter now live full time in Chapel Hill on an old farm where Sandra continues her work in social entrepreneurship, public school advocacy and race equity, while Peter enjoys: a little golf, working on the farm, hunting with his dogs, some cycling, and playing in an adult soccer league on the weekend. May to September find him in West Chop on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
No Team Members
No Team Members
No Team Members
Team of Four - Two Options
- Ride the Entire Route – Minimum Donation - $25,000
- Segment Rider – Minimum Donation - $10,000 - Three segment options.
- Day Rider Drop In – Minimum Donation - $500/day/rider
- Virtual Rider – Donation per segment - $100 for 1 Segment, $250 for 2 Segments, and $500 for 3 Segments
Single Rider - Two Options
What Does Light the Trail Cover?
Light the Trail covers the costs of lodging, meals, and on-the-bike nutrition & hydration for the entire ride segment.