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West Michigan native on RV tour through the US to collect stories of survival

battle of the gains rv tour
Posted at 3:49 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 08:52:50-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A West Michigan man who started a motivational organization aimed at helping people improve their lives has kicked off an RV tour that will see him visiting most of the country, filming interviews at each stop. The short videos, which ask people about the struggles they have faced through the pandemic and what advice they might have for others, will eventually be made into a documentary film.

Billy Gains started Battle of the Gains back in 2016 during his time at Grand Valley State University, where he initially set out to become an English teacher.

“I’m born and raised Grand Rapids, I went to Hudsonville High School, graduated 2013, and then Grand Valley State University 2018,” Gains told FOX 17 when he stopped by the station during his time in West Michigan.

“And we started hosting events, a lot of motivational seminars, getting people to know that they have to do to make gains, not just in their... physical life, but also in their career.”

After college he moved out to Silicon Valley, always knowing he wanted to expand his Battle of the Gains movement into something larger that could help a greater number of people.

When the pandemic hit, he decided to set off on an RV tour of the country with his girlfriend. They created a list of stops throughout the United States, planning to stop at several locations in each state to interview folks about their struggles through COVID-`19.

“We asked them two questions— what was your biggest battle in 2020... And then what's your advice for people in 2021.”

Gains compiles several of the interview segments they shoot at each stop into short YouTube vlogs that he has been posting throughout the tour.

“We've interviewed over 200 people across the country, and we've gotten thousands of videos," he told FOX 17.

“We talked about reaching out to people, we talked about staying busy, but the big thing too... is just to be nice and be kind.”

When they get back to California in mid-June, he plans to compile all of the videos they shot into a documentary film. Eventually, he wants to grow Battle of the Gains into a national non-profit organization.

“It's really important that people are taking care of their mental health, and that's why we're doing this trip around America to hear stories from people with the goal of becoming a national resource for mental health,” Gains said.

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