Over the past ten years Steve Fugate Sr. has walked almost 25,000 miles, and did it all with a sign over his head saying, simply, “Love Life.” His mission is to teach his love for life to every person he meets, so that no other parent will lose a child to suicide.

Steve was operating my business for me while I attempted a “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail. I had traveled just over half the trail when I received word that my son had placed a gun in his mouth and effectively ended both our lives.

I am convinced that there is no pain equal to that of losing a child. The grief was indescribable. I felt as though someone had taken an axe and chopped out my heart while I was yet breathing! My son, this living, breathing, precious life, my beautiful contribution to the universe, was suddenly gone. I can in no way fully describe the pain, I don’t know how to scream on paper…

Eight months later I returned to the exact spot where I had stopped my hike and proceeded to finish the “AT” as a tribute to my son. I screamed and cried almost every step of the way but I finished, having walked the entire 2,167 miles. While out on the trail in solitude, surrounded by the magnificent, inspiring beauty that encompasses that soothing and healing footpath, my life took a turn. For me, the Appalachian Trail became a pathway back to life… Trail Therapy. After completing my “thru-hike” of the Appalachian Trail I adopted a creed; I want no other parent to suffer the horror that I had to go through and I wanted no other young person to miss out on the chance to.. “LOVE LIFE”


Scott Janz

I created TheBackpackerTV because of my passion for the outdoors and seeing nature up close and personal. To inspire, and share all of our experiences so we can bring people closer to the wonders and awe of the outdoors.

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  • Have to say this guy is amazing. I can’t imagine the pain he must be holding inside. Prayers are with you Steve. Thanks for the eye opener.

  • Very inspirational.This has made me want to reach out to my daughter,whom i feel may hurt herself one day.I don’t want to feel that pain.Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  • Hi Steve, My long time significant other met you yesterday, he took really enjoyed talking and spending time with you. He came home and shared your story and the inspiration took my heart over. We talked of you and your story throughout the evening and we will never forget it. You are amazing. God is with you every step of the way. As I drove to work this morning I prayed for you and your families healing and comfort. We will never forget the impact that you left us with. May you find peace in all of you journies and may everyone you meet welcome you into their hearts forever.