For more information or if you’d like to encourage Denis and Judy on their walk, contact us.

Or, please leave us a comment below…

139 Responses to Contact

  1. Fiona Kolawole says:

    I am so overwhelmed reading this. I am currently sitting here in university as a mother of a beautiful son and another baby on the way and a wonderful husband at home, I am an overcomer of BDD and am currently studying a foundation year in Health and Wellbeing to go on to study Psychology and then CBT and Neuroscience masters, as my dream is to help those that went through or go through what I did. I remember those days of not understanding what was wrong and remembering I want to live but don’t know how to and its so much more peaceful sleeping and the hell began when I woke up.
    Why am I saying all this? Just to hopefully give hope. I know it can be very hard and recovery is tough. For me it was when I understood what my mind was doing I realised the lies and deceit I was believing about my skin and it was all a lie. Self development and a lot of reading and praying (I am a practicing Christian) and CBT got me where I am today. Please don’t give up, you can recover. I know that sounds easy but its been hard but I got there. I am so so so sorry for your loss. I pray your hearts are comforted and held in the Love of God always. Love and Peace to you all. Fiona

  2. Louise says:

    am so very sorry for the loss of your son beautiful inside and out. It made me cry reading his story and what a lovely person he sounded caught in this cruel unrelenting illness. As an older sufferer since early 30s to now mid 40s I understood so well what he said about his BDD. I have been treated by Doctor Veale at Priory UK, the BDD unit at Maudesely by other numerous psychiatrists done cbt, meds etc which slowed it but I have gone gradually from high functioning sociable head of communications of large charitable foundation with own house car friends etc to housebound unemployed I don’t socialise etc so run an online charity. It truly is a most cruel illness that has taken every ounce to get through often a minute at a time. At one point I spent up to 20 hours a day in front of a mirror when I had full breakdown and tried to commit suicide but failed first time and have come within hours of it many times and also feel I can’t take another day more. My heart goes out to you I think what you have done to help sufferers is wonderful. Having helped set up the uk BDD foundation i know some do fully recover or learn to manage it so thank you so much for your bravery and compassion in midst of a truly tragic loss.

    • denis111 says:

      Thank you, Louise, for your thoughtful comment. It is so important to hear stories like yours in the often very grim arena of this cruel brain disorder. You are too kind with your words of appreciation. We will hold them in our hearts while we do what we have to do and what we need to do to possibly change the outcomes for other sufferers. It is my hope that your candid sharing will also give them courage and grace to continue to move forward on their difficult journey.

  3. Ralph Bally says:

    Robert Hordan posted your trip on the St. John’s site. As a fellow former member of the SA, the thought of your being in Assisi for the feast day of St. Francis brings joy to my heart. Please pray for us all while you are there and know that our prayers accompany you on your journey.

  4. emma says:

    I really just want to say how much your story has touched me and how my heart goes out to you all.
    I suffer with BDD myself and it can be such a cruel and relentless illness.
    What you guys are doing, what you are achieving, and the way you approach it, all really amazes me! Big hug to all your family X

  5. You’re so awesome! I do not think I’ve truly read through something like that before.
    So wonderful to discover another person with some genuine thoughts on
    this issue. Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up.
    This site is one thing that is required on the internet,
    someone with a little originality!

  6. Neil Macindoe & Lois Chaber says:

    So very sorry for your loss. We feel deeply for you and your campaign. Our lovely daughter Sybil, an extreme sufferer of OCD took her life at age 20. Our way through the pain was for Lois to write a memoir about Sybil so that lessons could be learned and all royalties given to charity. It is called “The Thing Inside My Head – A Family’s Journey through Mental Illness” and for Neil to campaign on behalf of OCD Action and other Mental Health charities here in the UK. Keep up the good work. I have invited you to join our Facebook group and hope you keep us up to date there.

  7. Jack Samuels says:

    It was wonderful meeting Denis at Johns Hopkins Hospital yesterday.
    He inspired us all. I enjoyed my brief 2-block walk with him on Orleans Street and wish it could have been longer. All the best for the rest of your trip.

  8. Pete and Juliet Lane says:

    While in Gothenburg, Sweden, (4/29 – 5/6/2013) we walked an estimated 70,400 steps. We were in a good place to walk and … lots of people do that in Sweden.
    We’ll keep you up to date on our steps.
    Thanks, Denis, Judy, and Carrie, for this inspiration.

  9. Marlo says:

    Hi Denis,

    It was pleasure meeting you today at the Potbelly by Johns Hopkins. Although it was brief, I was moved by your pilgrimage. It takes courage, and strength to do what you are doing. I commend you for that, and I pray I can be an inspiration to someone as you were to me today. Stay safe, & strong mentally and physically.

    Best Regards,

  10. Diane says:

    Dennis I am so sorry that you lost Nathaniel to this horrendous disorder. It robbed my daughter of eight years of her life. She is now well after receiving cognitive therapy and is living life like I never thought possible. She says bdd is always there but now it does not consume her as it once did. It took many different professionals and various trials of medication until she finally turned the corner into recovery of this crippling illness..thank you for doing what you are doing….

    • Mariann Ridulfo says:

      It is amazing and reassuring for me to read that your daughter is now well after eight years of her life were taken away by this horrendous disorder. My son is on his 5th year of suffering with BDD. He is 24 years old and not the same person he was before, actually the complete opposite. He was so outgoing, funny.. (I can go on and on with all the great attributes he had), but I’m sure you could of your daughter as well. I would love to know what actually helped her “finally turn the corner into recovery” Any insight or resources would be appreciated. We are all suffering with my son. He also is not accepting of help. That is the biggest problem. Was your daughter willing to seek help? My son thinks he could heal himself! He keeps saying “this year I will be able to take my hand down from my face, I will be able to see family and get out of my room” It has never happened. I fear each year it just gets worse. Thank you in advance.

  11. Maureen Lynch Gladding CUA '95 says:

    I’ve just read your story in the CUA Alumni magazine, thank you so much for sharing your story with us. God Bless you and your family as you help raise awareness and funds for research into this disease.

  12. pamela, glynnis & lara stevenson says:

    Your strength, creativity, and optimism will always remain an inspiration to us, Prof.
    With love, The Stevenson family

  13. John says:

    What a great testament to a beautiful young man and his loving family. Inspired action taken in the face of deep loss. We get to see Nathaniel’s spirit and love through his family. A blessing. Thank you.

  14. sunnydays3 says:

    I am an English mum of a recently diagnosed 15 year old daughter and stumbled across your page whilst trying to learn more about BDD…I am so sorry for your loss, your Son sounded such a great person just as my daughter is…i just hope and pray my Daughter can have a good life…it scares me more each day and i just want to make it all better for her but know i cant.
    You are amazing for doing your walks and you have my upmost respect for making this web page…i wish i feel i could tell more people about my Daughter…
    Keep doing what you do your amazing xx

  15. michelle pursey says:

    I cant even begin to stress how bad this is ”BDD” I am sorry that your son took his life….. i myself have thought about it numerous times endin it all because im sick of going through this!!!You can see your son was beautifull. Its just so dissheartening !! Im glad you have raised awareness as there is not much support out there !

  16. Ed says:

    My heart is heavy today. It is a feeling only a parent can know. My son was diagnosed when very young with a rare autistic condition and we were told that despite having incredible intellectual abilities my son faced a difficult future. We were told that children with my son’s condition commit suicide at 40-45 times the rate for other teens.

    My son reached 17 this year – a year we at one time feared would never come. To you and your family – we understand and so deeply feel for you over your loss.

    • Janet says:

      I can not stop crying. Your story reaches into my heart and wrenches it with anguish, hurt and sympathy. My son struggles with OCD and BDD. Everyday is a struggle. I am so sorry for your loss and grateful for all you have done.

  17. BDD Sufferer says:

    Reading this website as well as the newspaper article had me in tears. Such a sad story and your son seemed like handsome, beautiful young man. My heart goes out to you.

    However, I’m glad that you are spreading the word about this disorder. It is not very well known. I read other people’s comments on here and I’m glad that they were able to tell their stories as well. To me, it is an embarrassing disorder, because I’m afraid to tell other people due to being labeled as “crazy”. Most of my friends do not know I suffer from BDD. When they ask me to get together with them and I can’t, I tell them that I am physically sick. Physical illness seems to be easier for people to understand than mental.

    People say “Oh you have to get over this, you are pretty, attractive,etc.” Or they say “you need to stop thinking that way about yourself.” I don’t believe any compliment that people give me nor can I stop thinking this way. It is a brain disorder. I totally understand that people do not understand this disorder. It is very complex. I don’t even understand it myself!

    I’ve been suffering from BDD since I was 12, which was 20 years ago. 20 years of pain, torment and suffering. I’ve been through deaths, medical issues, physical pain, divorce and none of them compares to the pain of BDD.

    BDD has destroyed my hopes, dreams and goals. Even things like vacations and holidays have been ruined because of it. I just never can escape BDD, it’s always there, constantly on my mind. It affects every single aspect of my life.

    Unfortunately, because doctors do not know much about it, it is very difficult to treat. I’ve seen several counselors, therapists, psychologists, psycho analysts and psychiatrists. I’ve been on several medications, natural therapies and other treatments. Nothing has worked. I feel so lost at this point.

    It takes an incredible amount of strength not to give up. This is why the suicide rates are so high. I am so thankful to have come across this website. Spreading the word about BDD is important, hopefully it can even save some lives.

    My heart goes out to all people who are suffering from any disorder or illness, and those suffering from BDD, you have my understanding and compassion.
    Hopefully somehow we can help spread the word.

    Thank you again for sharing your son’s story.

    • Mariann says:

      I am so sorry to read your story. My son has suffered for 5 years. I am worried every day that he will not get better, especially because he refuses to accept help.

      You say you have tried every recourse and medications. Don’t give up, you just have not stumbled upon the right medication or therapy. JUST DON’T GIVE UP!

    • Danielle Thompson says:

      Wow I feel like I just read about myself. I have been afflicted with this horrible illness since I was a little girl. I am now 39 and struggle daily to survive. Thank you for your post! xo

  18. Just read about Nathaniel’s story in the Philadelphia Inquirer. My heart is also heavy with you.

    Thank you for bringing awareness to BDD, I like many, have never heard of it (or do not know fully what it is).
    Is there a way to follow your blog/website via a RSS feed or Facebook? I would like to share awareness about your mission and follow your news.
    Stay strong,
    Mary Brighton

  19. Leigh Boghossian says:

    I was in high school when I first met Prof Denis. He was my French teacher, but I learned far more from him than just the language. Prof Denis gave me hope and strength when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. He walked the Bryn Mawr labyrinth in her honor, and I believe it was at the very moment she became aware of his compassion that she found the strength to become a survivor. Our hearts go out to the entire Asselin family, and we pray that they can gain comfort in the knowledge that we will now walk for them.

  20. I suffered with BDD and other dysfunctions for over 30+ years until I addressed my emotional pain from my past.

    This is what helped me the most:

    Chuck Koehler 310-954-7982 Collective Harmony group on Facebook

    My favorite Quotes:

    “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.’ We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we’re liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” – Marianne Williamson

    “Life is not a problem to be solved but a mystery to be experienced.” – Frank Herbert

    “The world is a playground. You know that when you were a kid, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it.” – from the movie, Yes Man.

    Interesting information about the human condition:

    We don’t live life; life lives through us. The best thing you can do for the planet is to heal yourself with the help of others as vibrating at a higher frequency will naturally affect those around you and the world in general. Stop trying to control LIFE and the people around you; resistance breeds persistence. You can influence those around you, but ultimately you really don’t have control over the behavior and actions of others, just your reaction and decisions to the outside world and those reactions and decisions will better serve you the more you release old emotional wounds and core beliefs. People don’t make you angry; you make you angry based on the running story/triggers/emotions that come up in particular situations.

    What values and qualities you admire in others are usually suppressed values and qualities within you that you want to express more to the world.

    Human aspects and characteristics that you dislike, can’t stand, or hate in other people or organizations are aspects and characteristics that you dislike about yourself. Learn to love and express all aspects of yourself as they are all just different frequencies of LIGHT. Learn to love that you can be uncaring, jealous, mean, spiteful, angry, afraid, fearful, etc. Pushing away, suppressing and hating these aspects of you will only cause resistance and suffering. What you resist persists.

    The three most difficult people in your life are your greatest spiritual teachers as they show you were you are not yet free.

    Ask yourself, “Is what I am currently doing or about to do closing my heart or opening my heart?”

    Anytime you are easily emotionally triggered by an event, situation, people or what they say shows you were you are not yet free. This is a sign that you have stored emotional pain surrounding an event earlier in your life and you created a story or a belief surrounding that event. What is the belief? Is it true? You might have to find a modality to help you release these suppressed emotions (energy).

    Releasing stored emotional/physical traumas or pain allows more room for creativity, intuition, love, compassion, peace, joy, etc. Sometimes, releasing old limiting beliefs requires releasing the emotional pain. FEEL TO HEAL!!!!! Let go, allow and surrender to the healing process as that is when you have the biggest energetic shifts.

    Question all of your beliefs, opinions, assumptions, preferences, etc. Are they keeping you contracted and stagnant preventing your heart and mind from expanding into love and possibilities? Is there any validity to your beliefs or opinions? WHAT DO YOU REALLY KNOW FOR CERTAIN? Learn to let go of or not have attachments to your beliefs, opinions, assumptions and preferences to allow expansion.

    When making a decision, go with your feelings and gut rather than head/thoughts. Does the decision feel light or does it feel heavy? Get in touch with your feelings, gut and intuition. The body/spirit always knows, but the ego/thoughts will keep you in protection or enhancement mode based on your entrenched emotional pain and core beliefs, which are usually not in your best interest for expanding spiritual growth.


    Sedona Method Book: Release emotions on both sides of an issue. Become more neutral. Neutrality isn’t boring; it’s peaceful.

    For example, you can repeat these statements to help release resistance and emotion.

    I accept, welcome, allow and embrace having money.
    I accept, welcome, allow and embrace not having money.

    Cathartic Workshops: They have weekend workshops to help you express and release suppressed and stored emotional energy within your body. They will have a workshop in Conroe, TX in Sept., 2012.

    EFT: Most Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. with Rashida Alisha at 5624 Larkin St, Houston, TX 77007
    Donation-Based. Her facebook page is

    EFT (& Quantum Touch): Thursday nights at 7 p.m. with Helen Racz ( at Spectrum Center by donation. She also does QT (Quantum Touch) and coaches. Private sessions in Katy.

    She has a great two-part intro to EFT on her website. (3 hrs total). She shows tapping near the end of part 1.

    Body Electronics: (Seaton Collard from Austin 512-636-5002)

    He firmly presses on certain acupressure points on the body while doing voice dialogue work with you.

    Conscious Language: Being mindful of your spoken words as they create your reality.
    Book: Conscious Language: The Logos of Now

  21. BDD for 17 years says:

    Dear Denis and family,

    I have been suffering from BDD for 17 years, since I was 13 years old. I live in England and came across your story when looking for articles on BDD.

    I was very moved to read about Nathaniel, about his kindness, his aspirations and his struggles. I cannot even begin to imagine the sorrow and pain that you are going through and I am very sorry for your loss.

    I want to thank you for the admirable and inspiring efforts that you are undertaking to increase awareness about BDD. As a BDD sufferer this means a lot to me, since this condition is something which many of us struggle with alone, too ashamed to talk about even with a loving family or close friends. I recognised myself in Nathaniel’s story, the obsession with skin, hair and body, the downwards spiral of gradual social isolation contributing to the worsening of the BDD symptoms, and the feelings of desperation when facing another day of mirror checking and obsessive routines.

    Because BDD is often hidden, due to social isolation and shame, it is so important to try to advance the understanding, and acceptance, of BDD as a serious mental condition. Many psychologists and medical practitioners do not know BDD exists, and even if they do there is relatively little research being done in this area and there is a lack of knowledge when it comes to available treatments.

    Being diagnosed with BDD in my late twenties and finally undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy was a breakthrough for me. At this time I had suffered in silence for many years, overwhelmed with shame and self-loathing that was not only related to my appearance but also to the fact that I obsessed about my appearance in a way that did not correlate with other’s idea of me as an intelligent, caring and politically and socially engaged person working on causes aiming to eliminate social injustice; supporting immigrant families and children with educational disadvantages.

    I could not admit to my family and friends that while I was very enthusiastic about things that I thought really mattered to society as a whole, I obsessed about something as superficial as my own appearance.

    When I was diagnosed with BDD I felt a sense of relief. Even if I was not remotely close to being capable of imagining that the physical flaws that I saw in the mirror might not actually be real, or noticeable to others, this is when my journey began from a state where I thought only a dramatic change in my appearance would make me feel better to a state where I realised that what I needed to change was my thoughts about my appearance and my person.

    This has not been a straightforward journey but at this point in my life, after three years of therapy, I can say that the progression rate is two steps forward, one step backward, which is an immense achievement to me. I imagine that living with BDD is like being an alcoholic, you will never fully recover but if given the right treatment, at the right time, you can learn how to manage it, to live with it, even forget about it on occasions, and be happy.

    Again, I am very grateful for your efforts in increasing awareness about BDD. Thank you for honouring Nathaniel’s memory this way. If there is any way that I can offer support please let me know.


    • Denine Westrick says:

      I was so grateful to come across your blog today. My 16 year old son suffers tremendously from BDD. He has tried 4 different medications and he just started CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). Because you suffered with the same condition for so long and you also are in the same therapy I ask you this, My house is full of mirrors, mirrors on every wall, would you recommend I get rid of all the mirrors in our home? I’m desparately seeking any advice you may have! Thank you so much.

      Denine (a caring /scared mom)

    • BDD for 17 years says:

      I just wanted to add, to all of you writing here suffering from BDD or have a loved one with BDD: I recently signed up to an online forum called BDD central: I have found it very helpful to share my experience and to talk to others suffering from BDD, being able to give and receive support and advice. My username is Sophie80, feel free to message me.

      Denis and his family’s kind and inspiring efforts are helping us find one another, to help each other. You are not alone.

      Warm wishes,

  22. Mom of Three says:

    I am a Buddhist, middle-aged, continue to suffer from BDD and I TOTALLY get why you walk! Whenever pressure builds up, nothing helps like a walk. And I could totally see walking until I got something totally thought through and processed, even if it was across the country. I may do this someday. Namaste.

  23. understanding parent says:

    Dear Denis, Judy and Carrie,
    I was looking for a way to contact you directly but this is the best I could find. I just wanted to let you know that you are all in my thoughts often! We found out shortly after the end of your walk about your journey. My daughter was diagnosed with BDD about 4 years ago. Like your son, she is a brilliant, beautiful person who has so much to bring to this world. She is currently 17 years old and doing better thanks to Dr. Jennifer Greenberg in Boston where your walk ended. Everyday is still a struggle though, and she is coming upon her senior year in high school and we wonder whether she will be able to go to college and get along without us there every step of the way. We have tried many therapists and no one could even make a difference until we found the BDD clinic. In all of the years of dealing with this, I never once met or spoke to a person who even knew about BDD let alone understand what we are all going through. I would very much like to talk to you and help in any way that I can to spread awareness about this horrible disease. Please email me if you are interested in communicating.
    Thank you.

    • Lynne Haase says:

      My son is also 17, going into his senior year of high school and he, too, has been suffering for four years. He had a pretty good year but toward the end of the year, he started to slide downhill again. We live in the Philadelphia area and he is finally seeing a specialist at U of Penn who seems to be making a difference.
      I think a lot about college. We are looking at small schools nearby but I am afraid if he goes away, he will be lonely and unhappy. He may go to a community college to begin.

  24. emily says:

    I was overwhelmed with emotion reading through this site and about your journey. What love, what ambition, what strength…it’s enviable. I was so touched by one of the remarks you made during your last night that I made it into a sign in my office as a daily reminder of what a blessing life truly is. I thank you for your positivity.

    “Much for which to be grateful. Much still to do. Many people to thank for their support. Tomorrow will be wonderful.”

  25. Nobody says:

    I suffer with this everyday and nothing can help me. I get headaches from worrying about my physical flaws and sleep for days at a time. I’m sure your son was a beautiful person. I wish I could talk to him. I have nobody to relate to. The kicker is your son has nothing on his face that makes him ugly. His suicide makes me question why I haven’t done it yet, because I am 100x more physically flawed than he is. It’s harder to breathe each day.

  26. brooks says:

    Denis….so sorry for your loss…your dedication to this cause and your son’s
    memory is such an inspiration to those suffering from mental illnesses and
    related conditions. My father took his life 11 yrs ago after suffering depression
    for most of his life and we lacked the knowledge how to treat the condition
    ( so wish I knew then what I know now ). What you are doing will raise awareness
    and encourage people to get some education on this subject so that they can
    help their families and those around them get the best possible treatment as
    fast as possible.. I hope I get a chance to meet you some you day.

  27. Kevin and Angie Casciano says:

    I left a comment here back in May but found myself still thinking about your journey so I came back……..I read all the comments and was crying like a newborn……What a tremendous victory for love, strength and perseverance!!!!!

    I wish you and your family the very best and hope your life story is re-written each and everyday with the cherished memories of years past and a bombastic enthusiasm for the future!!!!!

    Here’s to you Denis!!!!!! Cheers!!!!!!

  28. Carol says:

    Your son would be SO proud! Your website is beautiful. You made me aware of something I knew nothing about. Live strong in your memories! You inspire me to do something meaningful, anything. And I was trying to have such a bad day! Thank you for your story. Thank you.

  29. Song says:

    Denis and Judy,

    My heart and prayers go out to you. I met you at OCD conference back in 2009 when you shared about your son suffering with BDD. I had the eternal pleasure to share a few thoughtful emails with Nathaniel and shared our pains. What an amazing young man he was. I wish I could have meet him in person. Did not know until today about his passing. In ways we can never understand, suffering produces a greater good and better understanding of what pure joy really is. Will always remember your son.

    God bless you and your entire family!

  30. Otis Spencer says:

    To understand BDD you have to put yourself in their perspective. Many victims have negative obsessions about their body image ranging from all sorts of things to body height, body weight, skin complexion, to facial deformities or all combined. This story proves that it affects all ages and both genders and BDD doesn’t have to involve eating disorders or anorexia, rather the focus is based on negative obsessions and the type of rituals victims undergo, as in the Asselin case, extreme exercising, eating healthy, forcing themselves into challenging situations to overcome the obsessions but often they still have trouble accepting themselves. They are often high achievers and set higher standards than the average person. Unfortunately they often have to combat anxiety and social phobia and even depression since this is a chronic illness that medication nor behavioral therapy can cure. Many people with OCD may end up being doctors, lawyers, research scientists or your favorite professional athlete. They are very detail oriented, highly disciplined and super focused on getting things accomplished regardless of how tedious or repetitive the task may be. Many ignorant people claim they have a weak mind, but their behavior is quite the opposite, very strict even robotic in extreme cases. Other uninformed people claim OCD people are selfish or self-absorbed but in reality it is the opposite they often aim to please or satisfy others by serving or following strict routinary tasks, often depriving themselves of personal satisfaction. Young victims of BDD/OCD need all the family and peer support they can get to help widen their perception beyond negative obsessions to prevent the sad tragedy the Asselin family experienced. Often times OCD and BDD co-exist and are genetic. Parents need to early detect OCD if they or their children are suffering symptoms to prevent BDD, anxiety and depression in late stages of adolescence prior to adulthood. Many people with OCD have made great contributions to society and appreciate the knowledge and understanding when others accept their unique talents and abilities. My condolences to the Asselin family I know your son was with you in spirit every step of the way.

  31. Byron says:

    I am beginning to understand a semblance of how you must feel. The ultimate test of faith is to lose a child or to have your child receive a prognosis that virtually ensures you will outlive them. I commend your exploration of this life in the absence of your son and I pray that you find the purpose, peace, and healing you are seeking. God bless.

  32. Greg says:

    I came across your site today and as I too suffer from BDD I can relate to everything on the website. I’m sorry to hear of your loss, it is very difficult to understand this as the disease is so little known and therefore extremely difficult for people to understand the pain that someone with BDD goes through. I commend your dedication to your son and your mission and hope it sheds more light on this devastating illness.

  33. Cheryl Eldringhoff says:

    Your story touched my soul. My heart goes out to you and your family.

  34. Penny Collins says:

    Through every unimaginable event, something positive can come when you open your heart to others. Thank you for sharing your story. I consider myself an OCD survivor. A hard earned place to get to after years of private suffering. What I personally appreciate (so much) about you sharing your personal story, is that you are helping reduce the stigma that mental illness has in our world. Thank you for being brave and sharing your cherished memories of Nathaniel with the world. God Bless.

  35. T Pike says:

    Dennis – Is there some way to communicate with you in a more private forum?

  36. Tom Kosturko says:

    I was so moved by your story.The tears in my eyes are tears of sadness for your loss and tears of joy for such a beautiful way to honor your beloved Nathaniel in your journey to walk. Strangers become family when love and support are for the offering.What a beautiful gift we possess as humans. Our spirit, prayers and love are with you all. God Bless all.

    Tom Kosturko

  37. Amanda Uhry says:

    What a wonderful young man your son obviously was and how much joy he brought to his world. I’m so sorry.

  38. Steven says:


    I am so very sorry of what Nathaniel and your family has endured. He was a beautiful person – inside and out – that it breaks my heart to know he endured such intense pain. I have suffered with body dismorphic issues since I was 13 years old and have contemplated suicide many times because of the anxiety, depression and isolation that I have felt because of my illness. I wish I could have known Nathaniel, I would have done anything to have a friend who “understood” what I was going through all my life.

    God bless you and thanks for sharing Nathaniel’s story. It has inspired me to look into doing something.


  39. Kate says:

    Your dedication and love for your son is so beautiful. I, too, suffer from from BDD, and I understand the despair he must have felt. Know that what you are doing is not in vain—just reading your blog reminds me that having the love of someone else is more powerful than the weight of self-hatred. Bless you.

  40. Dolly Chugh says:

    Your son was so beautiful and this illness sounds so cruel. He was so fortunate to have a family as supportive as all of you. May he rest in peace and may you also find peace in your grieving. Our prayers are with you.

    • Tom Weaver says:

      Denis, Thanks for your story and the reference to the Buddhist walking. I am interested in the OCD group as my son, Nathan has been dealing with OCD for years. He functions as a self educated soft ware engineer and seems to be stable on some medication. Thanks for your inspiration. Kind regards on your journey, Tom Weaver father of a beautiful creative soon to be 31 yr old son, living with OCD in Minnesota.

  41. Kenny says:

    I feel so badly for you. I recently watched a movie you might want to take in when you have time – “The Way”. Good luck.

  42. Brandon Roach says:

    Deeply sorry for your loss, Nathaniel was a good looking kid, I could not even begin to imagine. What an inspiration you are to everybody! I’ve never heard of the disease til today, so your message is working.
    Brandon Roach, Dallas,TX

  43. Joseph Chavez says:

    Hi I am from California and have just read the article about your ordeal. Even though I do not know anyone with this particular sickness, I can imagine the agony you must have felt. By now, you must have finished your walk and I am sure that what you felt at the beginning of your walk is totally different now. It is very inspiring to see the action you took in such a positive way from something so tragic . I trully feel bad for your loss and wish you and your family the best in the coming years. I will keep in touch with you and your family in my thoughts.

  44. Art Seder says:

    It was just the other day I researched BDD on the internet and today came upon
    the article about you and your family. Very sorry to hear about Nathaniel. I browsed
    through the photos and was just puzzled what your son saw wrong with himself. I am aware the illness is a brain fault that causes a visual misconception of one’s appearance. No matter how many reassurances one gets, they never receive
    their own and that’s the big one they need. Hope your Journey is safe and remember You’ll Never Walk Alone with all the Loves in your Heart and from Above.

  45. Mike Kugel says:

    I knew nothing about BDD when I started reading your article. And now I’m literally sitting here at my desk at work crying. It makes me immensely sad to read stories about young kids that never have the chance to grow up, for one reason or another.
    The hardest part for me of learning what the disorder was, is that my first thought when I saw Nathaniel’s picture in the article (before I knew) was, “What an adorable kid!” I can’t even imagine the emotional pain that he must have endured in his too-short life. Rest his soul.

  46. Hank says:

    I’m very sorry for your loss. I’ve suffered with OCD and BDD for over 30 years now. I’m 47 and every day is a struggle. Yours is a very moving tribute to Nathaniel

  47. Matthew says:

    Denis- your journey is truly inspiring. You & your families passion & togetherness after your sons passing is a beautiful sign of the human spirit. It’s very admirable of you to channel your emotions in doing something that will help others who suffer with OCD/BDD.

  48. Christine Adrienne Guckenberger says:

    Denis & Judy & Carrie,

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I cried reading your blog. I have struggled with major depressive disorder my entire life and I was just recently diagnosed with Bipolar II. People just don’t understand the stigma that is still attatched to mental illness. Nathaniel sounded like a wonderful person. It broke my heart to hear this story, but by you sharing your story about your son’s mental illness maybe you can save a life. I am walking with you virtually!

  49. Liz says:

    My colleagues and I stepped out to lunch earlier today and saw you and your walking party. Only now have we realized that you were finishing up your journey. Congratulations on finishing your walk! What a great message and cause!

  50. Daniel says:

    I applaud you for what you are doing, and I am truly sorry about your loss. No parent should ever have to go through this. I don’t understand this disease, and quite honestly, it’s the first time I’ve heard of it. Looking at the photographs, it is hard to imagine. I found Nathaniel to be beautiful. I wish I looked like him and had his wonderful personality, actually. Just know he is walking with you. God bless.

  51. Tom Stewart says:

    Mr. Asselin,

    I have been following your remarkable journey since the beginning, reading the blog, and sending you my best. I see that today you have arrived in Boston. For this moment, there is but one fitting refrain:

    Là, tout n’est qu’ordre et beauté,
    Luxe, calme et volupté.

    Congratulations and thank you,

  52. Lindsey says:

    So inspirational and empowering. What a beautiful way to honor your son and promote awareness of the hardship he faced. He is with you.

  53. Jenna V. says:

    Denis & Judy,
    My name is Jenna and I am from Cincinnati. When I was 9 years old I met one of the kindest people that I have ever met. For the next 3 years, J.D. and I were close as can be. When J.D. was 12 he was diagnosed with BDD and things changed some. He no longer wanted to play as much as was often off seeing different specialists with his family. At such a young age it was hard for me to understand.
    As we moved into high school, we became closer again. J.D. came to my volleyball games and I to his lacrosse games. It seemed on the outside like he might really be making progress. Then one night in April I got a call I will never forget. J.D., like your Nathaniel, had chosen to give up his brave fight. As I’ve gotten older, now being 26, I have tried to get some understanding of this terrible disease. I hope that you are able to find the peace that I have fought for so many years to find after losing J.D.
    As it is now past noon, I am sure you are at the end of your walk! Congratulations! What a changing experience. My thoughts are with you and your family as you continue to move forward. Good luck to all of you in the coming years, and may Nathaniel live on in not only your hearts forever, but also the hearts of all who have read this blog!


  54. Sarah Golden says:

    Dear Denis,
    I read your sons story and hear an echo into my own life that scares me. I am a 28 year old woman, still in college, with OCD and no medical insurance. Some days I am perfectly okay, although I know that people can see me, I figure they are used to me so I must not bother them to much. I know I am ugly and people are just to polite to say anything anymore. It takes me hours to get ready, not that I wear much makeup but I cannot leave the house knowing people can see me the way I look. I don’t want to die, I just want to fix myself so other people can see the person I want to see. I get so embarrassed, I feel like I am covered in lumpy disgusting fat, and I just wish I knew why I looked this way. My friends tell me I am gorgeous, I wish they were more honest with me. I was emailed this article, and maybe I need help. I had never heard of BDD, well, a few years back a friend said I had it after she saw a TV special, but I don’t go to the Dr. so who knows. Either way, I want you to know your story touched me, I never want to hurt the people I love, I think I need help. Thank you for telling your story.

  55. Tim says:

    Denis, thank you so much for taking your pilgrimage and raising this issue in our society. Like your son I suffered from Body Dismorphia Disorder for many, many years. It began in college when I started to became obsessed with trying to look like the guys on the covers of fitness magazines.

    No matter how much I weighed I always felt fat and not muscular enough, even though (in retrospect) I was bigger and more cut up than most other guys in the gym. I became a recluse and spent virtually every waking hour in the gym obsessing over how “small” I was, and skipping work so I could make sure I was eating , waxing and tanning enough to try and cover up my “flaws”. Things quickly got out of hand and within a few years I secretly started experimenting with steroids and began cheating on my boyfriend of four years for cheap self-esteem highs that came from the attention I was receiving. It was at this point I began working as a male stripper to pay for more steroids and to feed off the cheap compliments I’d get from the customers. This experience couldn’t have been worse because your earnings are directly related to your looks, and if I didn’t make any money I’d go home feeling even worse about myself.

    Soon everything in my life came to a crashing halt. I got dumped, many of my friends ditched me because I’d become a horrible person, and my knees began to give out because of years of hardcore workouts. I’d finally reached rock bottom when I caught myself in my bedroom seriously considering pawning my graduation ring my mother had bought me so I could buy more testosterone. Like your son I seriously considered suicide, because after all was said and done (even at 180lbs of chiselled muscle at 5’7” and a modelling contract under my belt) I still genuinely felt like I was unattractive and not worthy.

    I finally decided I couldn’t handle things anymore when I found an amazing book that finally got me to see the light. “The Adonis Complex” taught me that this cycle was curable and there was a way, with professional help, to get over all these issues. I highly recommend it to anyone who might be facing what I did.

    I met an amazing therapist who specialized in body image issues and together she helped me overcome the biggest skeletons in my closet. It was a painful experience to go through, but therapy helped save me from what could have been a terrible end. Dealing with your problems takes much more courage than running away from them your whole life.

    I know I’ve gone on a lot here about my personal experience, but I wanted to share my story with you. Your pilgrimage means more than just your son – you’re carrying the pain and sorrow of everyone who suffers from this terrible disorder. Boys and men suffer terribly, and most often they do it in silence because it’s not “ok” to talk about their problems.

    I just want people to know that while I will always suffer from BDD, I can handle it now, and thanks to therapy and actually stepping up to address my problems I’ve managed to get my life back on track and realize what’s healthy when it comes to fitness and what is not.

  56. Mark Edwards says:

    God Bless you. Prayers for you. As a sufferer of OCD for 30+ years, I commend you for your walk.

  57. My thoughts and prayers are with you. It is truly brave to talk openly about any
    kinds of mental illness. We are still behind in understanding how much these people suffer in life. My mother died from alcoholism. She was a beautiful 50’s
    mother. I’m sure she would have been ok if only she would have had the proper medication instead of scorn from our community. She was born at the wrong time to get the help she needed, but then I would not be here to pass the word on about compassion. Life is so strange that way. Loving thoughts to you and your family. Pat

  58. Manu says:

    I am sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time. All the best for your Journey.

  59. Michael G Millson says:

    Denis, after reading your story and the dedication you have shown I am overwelmed. I have had 2 best friends that had taken there lifes which evidently are brothers… the 3rd brother is my best friend and he also is having a very hard time and has spoke about the possibility of doing the same. He also has this terrible desease and others as well.

    I would like to very much speak with you regarding on how you are able to keep going…

    Please feel free to contact me at any time.


  60. Ginny Sutton says:


    School and meeting members are cheering you on today. We are there with you in Spirit! Have a good reunion this weekend, as well. Do take care.

  61. Kevin & Jill Montemuro says:

    We all are so inspired and in awe of your walk to share your tragic story and spread the word about this catastrophic disorder. Your tribute is greatly honoring the spirit and memory of Nathaniel, a brilliant, kind and thoughtful young man. Our thoughts and prayers are with you as you near the end of this amazingly heartfelt journey.

  62. Mariann says:

    I have a son with OCD/BDD. He will be 21 in August and is trapped in a body he is ashamed of. Anyone would say that he is handsome and very well built, but he hides his face and his body. He thinks that he has a bump on his nose from breaking it several times. We don’t believe he broke it and took him to 2 ENT specialists. They both said he doesn’t have a medical need for surgery. He covers his face from his family, and only goes out at nite, if he goes out at all. He hasn’t had dinner with us in at least 2 years. He comes down to kitchen like a ghost after we are done eating and takes food up to his room and eats in the darkness. He even has severe vitamin D deficiency because he doesn’t see the light of day. We bought him a Seasonal Affects Deficiency lite to help with that.

    My heart breaks for you that your son Nathaniel took his life before someone was able to help him. This has been our fear for a long time. I first read your article in the Long Island Newsday. Then found your blog. Coming from someone that truly understands what we are going through, do you have any suggestions? James has always had OCD, but only showed the horrible signs of BDD the last couple of years. I have been mourning my son for 2-1/2 years since he told us he had a bump on his nose that he wanted plastic surgery to fix. Of course, he is the only one that see the bump. I feel he is gone already, he is not the same happy, funny, outgoing boy he used to be. I almost wish he had a physical ailment like cancer that we could help to cure with medication and treatment. I know that is horrible to say, and I feel horrible typing it, but we are at our darkest time right now and don’t know where to go or what to do.

    After taking him to the ENT specialists, we then took him to a plastic surgeon that we had hoped would talk him out of surgery, but didn’t. Now we are feeling that the risk of doing it is less then not doing it at this point. We are trying to find a surgeon that would do a placebo type surgery, but are having trouble. We have taken him to a psychiatrist that gave him medication that he didn’t want to take, so didn’t stay on it long enough to make it work. We took him to a great psychologist that would give him cognitive behavioral therapy that James would not follow and would tell the doctor that he was fine and this disorder was not interfering in his life! He is in total denial and we are helpless!

    Did your son want plastic surgery? And did he admit to having the disorder, or was he in denial? My son is in denial and feels the plastic surgery will make him a new man. Unfortunately, we know it would probably lead him to want more surgeries. He did tell us that if he got the surgery and didn’t feel better, then he would take any medication we thought would help him. If there is anything that you could suggest we do, please get in touch with me at Thank you and God Bless you and your family.

    • Dolly Chugh says:

      I don’t have insight or advice to offer but just want to send you all my hopes and prayers during your dark time. It sounds so difficult and your son is so fortunate to have you. Please know that you are being supported by people you don’t even know.

      • Mariann says:

        It is 2016 and FOUR years later and my son still suffers and probably worse now. He won’t accept any help and thinks he can “fix” himself! I would tell anyone with BDD to not give up, but I am at a point that I feel like giving up. This disorder affects all that love the person that suffers with it.

  63. The Knox Family says:

    As this journey begins to approach its physical ends, we are all amazed at the attention this has brought towards this disorder. Each passing moment adds a new candle of understanding and awareness towards BDD. We, as a family, are so proud of how each individual step taken in this walk has spread Nathaniel’s story just a bit farther and allowed other people to find their own sources of strength. This ability to reach people who are in need is wonderful. Each step Denis has taken opens a new window of fresh air in each of the lives of the people who are suffering from BDD. Each step is a bit more strength that is given to them. Each step is closer to fully understanding BDD. Each step taken by Denis is a step taken by all of us, together. Denis Asselin, thank you for this remarkable journey.

  64. Suzanne Guay says:

    Allo mon beau cousin Denis!
    Quelle marche extraordinaire! Tu es vraiment un être à part.Dans quelques jours
    ce grand périple prendra fin mais tu auras sensibilisé plein de gens à cette cause.Je pense à toi beaucoup et à Nathaniel qui t’accompagne sur ton chemin.Je t’envoie de Québec toute l’énergie et l’amour nécessaire pour ces derniers milles . Toute mon affection.
    Suzanne XX

  65. Judy, Denis & Carrie, my heart goes out to you, what a tragic loss of such a beautiful boy. I’m not sure how I came across your story whilst surfing the news items on the internet but I cried when I read about Nathaniel. For your amazing BDD fund I would like to make a donation, for the family I feel so moved by your loss I would like to give you something personal…I am a portrait painter, (London based) I work from photographs and I would feel honoured if you would let me paint a portrait of Nathaniel for you from a photo of him of your choice. Also if you ever have a fund raising activity such as an auction I would be very happy to donate a portrait commission….I do this a lot for charities that move me, this is certainly one of those, I have heard of BDD & I know there really isn’t enough awareness of it out there. Denis, I wish you strength & courage on your walk!!!

  66. Lara says:

    I just read the ABC news article from this morning about your son Nathaniel’s struggle with BDD. I am so incredibly sorry for your loss. I have been suffering from BDD for ten or so years, and now, at twenty-one, I am, like Nathaniel was, thoroughly exhausted from my mind’s perpetual antagonizing. My father was actually the one who came across the article, and he urged me to contact you and your husband. If you are aware of any resources or organizations that you believe would be of help, please let me know, I would be very grateful.

    • BDD for 17 years says:

      Dear Lara,

      I am very sorry to hear that you are not doing well. I am a sufferer of BDD and recently signed up to an online forum called BDD-central. I have found it very helpful to speak to others who struggle with BDD, feeling that I am not alone and being able to get and give support and advice. If you want to sign up you can message me: Sophie80 is my username.

      Warm wishes,

  67. Phil Gordon says:

    You made it Massachusetts. Congratulations on your walk-a-bout. I look forward to hearing more about your experience on our next walk.

    I hope your heart has mended.


  68. J says:

    I understand. What a sad loss. Do you sell t-shirts with your logo on them? If so, please let me know as I would like to buy several

    Thank you


  69. susan says:

    I simply want to say that your story touched me deeply and I am so desperately sorry. May God be with you each of you.

  70. Kevin and Angie Casciano says:

    Denis and Judy

    I just read the article detailing your son’s tragic struggle with BDD. I am emotionally crushed by the story but also inspired by the walk. I don’t normally leave comments on articles and such but I felt so moved by the story. I wish you both the very best in the future. Good Luck Denis on the walk, I hope you find peace within and your life journey is filled with the cherished memories of the son, Nathaniel, who in many ways is still, ALIVE!!!!!!

    Kevin and Angie Casciano
    East Windsor NJ

  71. Casey says:

    Hello Denis-
    It was a pleasure to meet you today at the Coldstone Creamery in Mansfield, MA. We shared a wonderful conversation as we indulged in a delicious treat.
    Your walk, the story behind it and your love & dedication to your handsome son Nathaniel is inspirational.
    The unconditional love between a parent and child is what keeps us going when times get difficult.

    I echo my son Daniel’s (who is touched by autism) sentiments, when he yelled to you from the window of the car as we drove by …
    “walk safely my new friend”.

    “May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields. And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

    Warm Regards,

  72. Jennifer says:

    I read about your son today on ABC news. I’m so very sorry for your loss, and am moved to learn of your walks in honor of your son’s life. I had bouts of BDD, as well as depressive/anxiety issues most of my life. The BDD was the absolute WORST of any of the other issues. After different therapies and meds. am FINALLY in a place where these obsessive thoughts don’t run/rule my life anymore. I feel inclined to let other’s know the meds. I’m taking in case it might help other’s w/their treatment (it took us sooo long to find the right mix). I know treatments and meds. work differently for everyone, but because of the pain and horribleness of this disorder, I feel compelled to let other’s know what worked for me; as it possibly maybe helpful to others. First, I got out of a very competitive and aggressive proffession and moved out of the big city I was living in. The med. mix that works for me (I’m female 35yrs, 125lbs), that I still take is= 10mg. Lexapro at night before bed. 150mg. Wellbutrin w/5mg Buspirone, once in the morning afer b’fast, once in the afternoon (4-5 hours after 1st dose). Then 5mg of buspirone again if I’m feeling anxiety later in the evening. I would NOT reccomend the wellbutrin w/o the buspirone; it can make me VERY anxious. Best wishes to your family, and to others suffering from this disorder.

    • Regina says:

      I am so very sorry for the loss of Nathaniel. My thoughts are extended to his family … that they may find comfort in raising awareness about this disease. And a note to Jennifer: I have suffered from bouts of anxiety and depression for many years and I appreciate that you have left some information to help others. I have not yet found a support network or online support group. If you could contact me via email, I would be grateful to have someone to talk to.

  73. Christiane Guay says:

    Allo Denis !

    Quelle démarche et marche extraordinaire ! Je t’envoie un message d’amour et des ondes positives de Boucherville ! Tu es dans notre coeur et Nathaniel aussi.

    Lorsque je consulte le site (quel merveilleux travail) ou lorsque je pense à ton périple, cette phrase me revient constamment en mémoire: *Va paisiblement ton chemin à travers le bruit et la hâte et souviens-toi que le silence est paix.*

    Actuellement, ton chemin n’est pas de tout repos, on sent les empreintes de Nathaniel à chacun de tes pas, ta démarche est loin d’être silencieuse, elle informe, elle est source d’inspiration et elle nous interpelle…

    Bonne route mon cousin, tu es une grande âme…

  74. Josh Berberian says:

    Hi Denis–
    You always have been, and continue to be, an inspiration to me. I have not quite mastered your ability to live in the moment, but your spirits echos in my mind when I find myself too worried about the past or the future. I am so proud of you, and can imagine that you have gotten your “second legs” under you just in time to finish your voyage. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  75. Phil Gordon says:

    Not far now! May the wind be at your back!

    Phil and Marilee

  76. Ann Danis says:

    Cher Denis: What a gift to have you in our lives! You are now a cherished friend and we are with you on your journey and beyond. Your son lived and died for reasons we cannot know but it is clear that his life was a very important one for us all and that his story will live on through your efforts. God be with you!
    Ann and Catherine (…and Lily)

  77. Hilary says:


    I’m so proud of you! Imagine a month ago, you weren’t even sure how to get out the door. I think of you often and *love* reading the blog. I’m sending lots and LOTS of hugs and laughter. I can’t wait to celebrate with you when you return!


  78. Beth Tze says:

    My husband, Anthony Tze, beloved husband, father, son, friend and physician, took his own life on 2/21/2011 due to BDD. God bless you for what you are doing. My incredible family is working hard in Chicago and across the country to raise awareness. Our loved ones will not have died in vain.
    – Beth Tze

  79. Christopher,brown says:

    Hello, you met my mother june today, at the mystic marriott. She told me your story and I became intrigued. I myself am going through a panic/anxiety and,i,know how hard mental disorders can be. I find your tale very inspiring and,would like to wish you luck on your journey. Thoughts and prayers.

  80. The Wasilewski Family says:

    We ran into you today at the Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream Shop. Obviously, we were very touched by the brief conversation (we are criers!). My son is 3 1/2 and was recently diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This vacation has been a challenging one for us with the behavioral issues that we encounter on the day-to-day, so hearing about your son with another unfortunate brain disorder was somewhat emotionally overwhelming as we are at the beginning of our struggle. Immediately upon getting into our car to continue our travels, I looked up your website and perused the images and stories. I read your blog for the day, and I want you to know that your 500 mile pilgrimage is a phenomenal way to honor your handsome son, and that you are, in fact, touching the lives of those you encounter. I read the website aloud to my husband and my mother as we drove and we were all educated on his disease. Be safe and God bless your family. Thank you for sharing and don’t give up!

  81. thomas nawn says:

    walking is wonderful, my age is 73, haver never owned ar car, been all over rome paris london, tookj public trandportation. this is a wonderful tribute to your son, i graduated from saint john.s in 1957, thomas nawn 312 hanson avenue fredericksburg, virginia

  82. Gregory Kastraveckas says:

    This is Gregory, I was the guy who made your food in the Orient Point Deli at Cross Sound Ferry. It was great meeting you and hearing your about your inspiring journey, I hope it gets the attention needed to your cause, and your son. I will continue to follow you on your way and I give you my best wishes.
    Good luck and be safe!


  83. Ginny Sutton says:

    What a joy to think of you on the ferry moving across the water and into Connecticut! Continue on your way with your knapsack on your back. Do sang a bit, as well. Take care.

  84. Peter & Juliet Lane says:

    Thanks for the beautifully written journal. Today Juliet and Roscoe and I were at the Chestnut Grove at school “just to have a look” and I remembered that wonderful book you and Judy gave me “The Man Who Planted Trees”. It’s a treasure; I wish I spent more time nurturing the Chestnut trees. Many of them have reached maturity and are forming the male and female catkins the do the mating.
    Juliet and I took that ferry, Orient to New London, after driving along RTE 20 (is it?). It was 2007 in the summer.
    Doubts, yes they’re always there when you are doing really great things. The doing hides the mountain top from view (like the mist of the day). God go with you, Denis, Love from Peter and Juliet

  85. Karen says:

    I met you in Ritz Camera in Glen Mills about 2 weeks before your journey. You told me about Nathaniel and your quest to walk in his honor and memory. I wrote down your web site and began following your walk and reading your inspiring words as you push yourself forward. I have told many friends and family and will continue to help spread your story. I have cried and smiled reading your touching moments along your path…continue to be safe and know your great challenge is helping others… your mention of Big filled me with emotion. He misses his bestfriend, but thankfully he carries lots of love and memories to remind you how Nathaniel loved and was loved.
    Take Good Care of Yourself,
    Karen Mannke

  86. Emily C. says:

    Hi, Denis – I just caught up on your admirable journey so far. I am impressed with your mileage! And I love the photos of your visit to Shipley. Please let me know if you need anything when you get to Boston. Bon courage!

  87. Ruth Brien says:

    Hi, Denis:
    I heard about you and the walk you are doing for your son through a mailing from the IOCDF. My husband and I often donate money to the IOCDF, but we will make a larger donation this time in honor of Nathaniel and what you are doing.
    I am a sufferer of a type of OCD called scrupulosity that deals with religious fears. I was hospitalized for several years, but no practitioners at the mental hospital knew about scrupulosity. My family and I finally learned about it from another patient in one of my groups. I think it is very important to raise awareness of the entire spectrum of OCD disorders, as many people think that the only form of OCD has to do with excessive handwashing.
    As someone who suffered incredibly from my OCD to the point of being hospitalized for a long period of time, I can say from experience that the love one receives from his or her family is so important. I imagine that it is the strong love you and your wife and daughter have for Nathaniel that kept him on this earth as long as he stayed. I can also say from experience, unfortunately, that no matter how much you are loved, sometimes with the OCD, you cannot be talked out of what seems real to you no matter how much you want to or how much your loved ones want that for you. I was very fortunate to have an aha moment after a dear friend committed suicide. It still has been a long, hard struggle that is with me every day, but I am getting stronger and stronger. I now am married and have a full-time job. Anyway, I applaud what you are doing. I have to believe that Nathaniel is proud of you. My husband and I live in the Boston area, and I have attended OCD lecture series and support groups at McLean Hospital. If I am able to get time off from work, I hope to be in the crowd that welcomes you to Boston on June 7th.

  88. linda says:

    I too just read this story and am so sad for your incredible and painful loss and it is a crime that someone as wonderful as your son could not be helped. Thank you so much for doing this …There is not enough attention or money dedicated to this terrible disorder and I would like to help you. Please contact me if you like.

  89. Steve Wannemacher says:


    This walk for your son Nathaniel is such a positive, uplifting and loving endeavor, in so
    many ways. You are honoring your son, raising awareness and hopefully
    healing, all the while touching the hearts of so many of us.
    You are in my heart as you continue.
    And I look forward to seeing you in Montour in three weeks.

    Steve W. ’67

  90. Phil Gordon says:

    Our thoughts and prayers are with you Denis. May your hearts mend.

  91. Linda Welsh says:

    Your visit to AATC early on was a honor to all of us.Our thoughts of you and Nathaniel are with you daily.
    You mentioned another therapist you were on your way to meet who was Ericsonian in practise.May I have his contact information.?
    Safe travels,

  92. Brenda says:

    I was looking on the web today and found your walk site. We also have a son suffering from BDD. I want to help get out there and help spread the word. There is still so little understanding of this illness. You are doing a wonderful thing and I’m sure Nathaniel would be so proud of his family.

  93. Deb Wood says:

    Thank Thee, Friend.

  94. Dick Brugger says:

    Years ago we knew each other. Harry Hines told me about you and Nathaniel. I am so sorry about his years of travail, how difficult it must have been for Nathaniel, for his sister, for you and his mother. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. I have vivid thoughts of you and our years at Montour together. Then I was Joachim. Your journey is through my backyard in Bucks County. I can just imagine how beautiful and gifted Nathaniel was and how deeply entwined he is in your life. You always were so sensitive. Dick B

  95. Barb says:

    I am so touched by your journey and so incredibly sorry for your loss. It is my greatest fear.. that my son will take his life as the statistics are so high with BDD. He has been suffering from BDD since the age of 12.. ours has been a road filled with anguish , frustration, and unbearable pain. He is 17 now.. and I am at a loss as to how to help anymore. We have been through the residential treatments, medication trials etc. He is now pretty isolated and at home.. not going to school. Bless you for taking on this journey and raising awareness.. There is not near enough help, support and education out there for BDD.
    I will follow your journey daily, and hope that I can also talk to you one day. You are truly an inspiration.

  96. Ginny Sutton says:


    Know my thoughts and prayers continue with you! I visualize somewhere safe in your backpack the small metal that continues to travel around the world as it began its spsirtual life in Calcutta. God’s blessings are with you, each step of your journey. Ginny Sutton

  97. ann alburn says:

    Denis, I look for your log everyday and you and Nathaniel are an inspiration to me. I clearly see you both in my mind walking one in front of the other and it is so uplifting….Best wishes and love to you both as you continue on this incredible journey together.

  98. Sue Hoaglund says:

    Cher Denis,

    I read your blog when I can, and am cheering you on! Are you planning to stop in Narragansett? Any idea when? We might have some Greene School students who will walk part of the way with you!

    Lots of love to you!

  99. Harry Hines says:

    Denis – Thank you for taking us on your pilgrimage! How wonderful to meet your family and fellow-travelers through your journal entries and the photos.


  100. Laurie Worth says:

    Hi Denis I have had to do a bit of catch up reading. I absolutley loved all the pictures from Shipley. I loved your wording about smiles. Each raing day makes me hope for sunshine for thee. I am so proud of you. Ultreya!!!
    Peace, Laurie

  101. Martin Kelly says:

    Want you to know that we are thinking of you Denis. When you feel tired please hear us cheering for you! “Go Denis! Do it for Nathaniel!”

  102. Peri says:

    I have just now been reading your website for the first time. Tears are streaming down my face. I can’t imagine your pain and am sorry for your tragedy. I am moved by your pilgrimage. After I saw the movie The Walk, I thought to myself some day I will do that, how healing and inspiring it will be.
    ( pipe dream)
    I worry that I should be doing more to help my daughter who suffers from OCD.
    ( and we think bipolar too.)
    She was diagnosed at 7 and is now 12. She is on medication and sees a therapist. But her anguish continues. She is so down on her self. So incredibly heartbreaking to watch.
    Your energy to honor your son and help fund research is amazing and beautiful. I wish you much light and success on your journey.

    From an island in Maine

  103. Pat Nicholson says:

    It’s good to read your daily entries and imagine what’s in your head. Yeah, solitude for a long-ish while; but we’ll figure a way to see you this coming Sunday!!

  104. Ed Micca says:

    When do you expect to hit Long Island?
    Ed ’64

  105. Ed Micca says:

    A fellow Montourian here. What a way to honor your son and have good rise up. My thoughts and prayers go with you.
    Ed Micca ’64

  106. Peter & Juliet Lane says:

    Denis, your spirited writing and love for all of those who join you is uplifting … that’s what you do for us. Thanks

  107. Rose di Benedetto says:

    Denis, I think of your dear, sweet Nathaniel often. Your tribute is worthy of his memory. Thank you for sharing your journey – we will all benefit from it.

  108. Megan Williams says:

    Dear Denis,
    I am so sorry to read about your catastrophic loss. I remember when Nathaniel was born (and how tired but happy you seemed teaching us French). I live in Mt. Airy, and would love to know the route you are taking to Ft. Washington.

  109. Tom King says:

    Good luck on your pilgrimage. Be careful and hope to see you in June.

  110. kat yeh says:


    Our thoughts and prayers are with you on your journey. I would love to walk with you or at least see you or have you come and rest at our house when you’re on Long Island. Will be in touch.

    Sending love,

    Kat Yeh

  111. Eric Stein says:

    Sorry I missed your stop at Bryn Mawr Hospital on Wednesday. I look forward to following your journey on line and supporting your effort to bring greater awareness and funding to this worthy cause.

  112. Nathalie Bilodeau-Lepage says:

    Cher cousin, je suis avec toi en pensée et en prière. Courage dans ton périple, tu es une belle inspiration pour nous tous!

  113. Kedra Kearis says:

    “…tous ces mouvements de ceux qui partent et de ceux qui reviennent, de ceux qui ont encore la force de vouloir, le desir de voyager et de s’enrichir.”
    –Baudelaire: Le Port

  114. a shipley student says:

    Dennis (I’m sorry, I do not know your last name so I will go by this)
    I am terribly sorry for your loss. My prayers go out to you and your family during this difficult time. I want you to know what you are doing is very incredible though. I am a shipley student. Us students recently received the email regarding the walk you are doing. This had a particular effect on me, considering I myself suffer from OCD. I have for many years and it is an extremely difficult battle. It has effected all aspects of my (and my families) life tremendously, and I cannot imagine the pain you are going through. Although the circumstances are different, the strain any form OCD causes is so difficult. Many people do not understand the severity of this disorder, so I wanted to acknowledge and thank you for your strength and persistence to raise money and awareness. I admire you so much, (this sounds really weird coming from a kid) but I can understand the struggle and express my gratitude for all you are doing. your family is in my prayers.
    Safe travels

  115. Peter & Juliet Lane says:

    Denis, Judy, Carrie, and Family:
    We wish you the best on this lovely morning as Denis takes his first steps North and East. We’ll be walking with you in Spirit, love from Juliet and Pete

  116. Cynthia Terrell says:

    We (Kathy, Aunt Helen, Anna, assorted dogs and cats, myself) are sitting around the kitchen table at 5321 Baynton pouring over the website together. It’s a beautiful thing — the photos, the prose, the walking plan and the call to action and engagement. We all send our love to you with gentle hugs to boot. Do count us in as virtual walkers…! Cindy

  117. lynn strange says:

    Best wishes as you begin this inspiring pilgrimage. I will miss our uplifting walks over the next two months, but you and Nathaniel will be in my thoughts and prayers. “May the long time sun shine upon you, all love surround you, and the pure light within you guide your way on.” Safe travels.

  118. Dan Nicholson says:

    We are walking with you…

    …and hope to physically walk with you in June!

  119. judy martino says:

    my thoughts and prayers are with you; my daughter suffers from bdd, and i know kindof what you went through, except i still have my daughter. i can not make a commitment to the walk, but i will be in touch. thank you for bringing bdd out of the closet….

  120. Kim Weeks says:

    So sorry for your heartbreaking loss. What an amazing tribute!
    We lost a family member last year to BDD as well. We, too, did an awareness campaign called Tri for Tony last fall/early this year and raised money, which culminated in a wonderful BDD workshop, which we hope will be the first of many!
    So, so wonderful to see the word getting out there more and letting people know about this! Congratulations to you and I look forward to hearing your story! Good luck to you!

  121. Marc says:

    God Bless and a safe journey. I am holding you in the light and thinking of you often.

  122. Tom Haviland says:


    What a touching and beautifully created web site that pays tribute to your dear son Nathaniel. He lives on through your work and pilgrimage. God bless you on your walk and the awareness that you give to this terrible disease.

  123. chris simpson says:

    this is a beautiful thing that you are doing, and i look forward to following your progress and reading your reflections.

  124. Chris Wheeler says:

    All my best wishes on your journey. I look forward to keeping up with your progress. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers along the way.

  125. Steven Baris says:

    Such an inventive and empowering response to a terrible and tragic event: my heart walks with you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *