AIKEN, Sc. (WJBF) – A Marine Corps veteran begins his 22-hour workout on Wednesday to raise awareness for mental health in the veteran community.

Adam Cooper is beginning his workout journey at Max Fitness in Aiken on stair climber. He tells us he wants to raise mental health awareness this way because the gym is his therapy.

“With the challenges I’ve come across with mental health, I’ve learned that the gym is the best tool for me,” says Cooper.

He chose to do a 22- hour workout because of a reported statistic that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.

“It’s really important to get this message out about veteran suicide,” says Cooper. “And I believe it takes a radical change- a radical decision to get a radical change. And if it takes me climbing stairs for 22 hours to get people to be aware of what is really going on inside the veteran community, then I’ll do it.”

As a daily gym goer, Cooper and his friend, Lowell Koppert of the Aiken County Veterans Council have a solid plan for the next 22 hours.

“Understanding ligaments and joints and knowing that’s a lot of strain,” says Koppert. “We’ve discussed, even in the last hour, the possibility of hopping into the pool at some point.”

Cooper served four years in the Marine Corps. He says there was a time where even he questioned his purpose.

Fitness saved his life.

“It’s a problem that’s going on in society as a whole, not just in our community,” says Koppert. “We’re passionate and I think we get a little bit more recognition because I think people realize how much more veterans have done for the country, some more stressors may be involved. Just like homelessness and a lot of other things affect society, it affects us.”

“I love my country, I love my veterans,” says Cooper. “…and we can’t quit on each other.”

The community is invited to support. There is apparel for sale at 56Brave and you can make a donation to When Life Sucks, a foundation aimed at supporting veterans experiencing trauma. You can also follow Adam on Instagram @neverquitfitdad22.