Jay Styles knows what it’s like to battle depression.
Over the years, the Mix 94.7 afternoon host has been open and honest about his struggles in hopes of helping others in similar situations. One of the most visible ways — his annual Courage Walk — happens this week.
“It’s hard for people to come forward, but once you get them started, once you make it easy for them, you have some really great conversations,” he said. “There really are so many people out there dealing with the same thing.”
This will be the third year for the Courage Walk, which benefits the Austin Dog Alliance’s Hounds for Heroes project — a campaign that pairs veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression with trained service dogs.
Over the course of a week, Styles will walk 100 miles to raise awareness and money. And this year, for the first time, the public is invited to take part by walking the final 5 kilometers (about 3.1 miles) with Styles. The event will take place Saturday at 9 a.m. at Old Settlers Park, 3400 E. Palm Valley Blvd. in Round Rock.
“I’ve always wanted to do something like this, so when I got here to Austin, I decided to put it in motion,” Styles said. “I wanted something that would stick out and gain some attention. The response has been great.”
He decided to focus on veterans because there are so many in Texas, particularly in the Austin area because of its proximity to Fort Hood.
The 100-mile route Styles plans to take goes mostly through the Georgetown, Round Rock and Pflugerville areas, with law enforcement officers and firefighters expected to join him on and off along the way.
“The relationships we’ve built with those guys are just unbelievable,” he said.
The host admits he’s “not the most athletic guy,” which means the journey takes a toll on his body. His feet swell, he said, and one time he even had to use a cane. But the end result, he believes, is worth it.
“If you see me out there walking, give me a honk,” he said. “This is very important to me. A lot of people are struggling.”
For more details, visit mix947.com.