Actors and musicians are now filming themselves dropping down and giving 22 pushups — not as a fitness regime but as an effort to bring attention to the military veterans who commit suicide every day.
The name of the challenge and the number of pushups is derived from the 2012 U.S Department of Veteran Affairs study that calculated an average of 22 veterans take their own lives daily in the United States. The number of veteran suicides has since dropped to 20. The initiative was launched by the awareness group #22KILL.
“When the statistics came out that 22 veterans a day were committing suicide, it was almost unbelievable. We wanted to find out more where this number came from,” said retired Marine Don Nguyen, deputy director of the support group.
Similar to the Ice Bucket Challenge, participants perform the exercise, nominate another person and then upload and share the video online, where the next person does the same. But unlike the Ice Bucket Challenge, which asked for donations for ALS patients (and succeeded in raising $115 million), this initiative does not request charity but only to spread simple awareness.
Hollywood A-list actors like Dwayne Johnson, Chris Evans, John Krasinski, Kevin Bacon and Ludacris have risen up to the challenge not just to honor veterans but also to draw attention to the mental health issues that affect the community as well.
I accept your challenge @scotteastwood and I'm callin out my brothers @beastmode @lilduval @snoopdogg to raise awareness for our veterans that are suffering out there. We must never forget about those who fight and die for this country. If you are suffering call 1-800-273-8255 we are thinking about you and we care!! #22pushupchallenge
I called brotha @kevinhart4real and told him I challenged him and even though I knew he was on his honeymoon, he said one word "Done". We've had a lot talks in the past about our US vets and Kev always steps up to the plate to honor and shine the light on our men and women of service. Especially for a cause like this. #22PushUpsChallenge ????????
It is #22KILL’s objective to have the world complete a minimum of 22 million pushups. So far, their counter shows 7.8 million pushups have been achieved.