(KARK) Rhett Batanides has fond memories of a friend he lost too soon to suicide.
“A terrible thing, I never saw it coming,” he says.
So when a friend challenged him to pour a bucket of ice on his head to raise money for patients with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Batanides accepted with a twist.
Batanides turned it into the mace and waterboard challenge.
He was blasted with pepper-spray, then waterboarded.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an average of 22 veterans commit suicide each day. That’s nearly one every hour, and the reason Batanides says he went to the extreme.
“PTSD is torture for those I’ve talked to,” he says. “Some that have it, it’s mental torture. I was trying to show that in a way I made up in my mind.”
He’s not asking others to duplicate his challenge, but to do something to help the veterans who face challenges every day.
“It’s a real thing. We need to draw attention to it and we need to reach out and help those affected by it,” he says.
Batanides is hoping his video will encourage people to donate to organizations that support veterans or volunteer at the VA.