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Locals Come Together to March for Suicide Awareness

From adults to toddlers, city unites for Out of the Darkness Walk

The+beginning+of+the+walk
The beginning of the walk

The beginning of the walk

Photo by Blaine Wikoff

Photo by Blaine Wikoff

The beginning of the walk

Blaine Wikoff, Media Editor

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On Sunday, September 9th, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) hosted a 2.54 mile “Out of the Darkness” walk. The purpose of the walk was to raise awareness about mental health issues and to raise money for the organization itself.

Photo by Blaine Wikoff
Tents at the walk

AFSP is an organization dedicated to trying to prevent suicide, help those that have been affected by suicide, funding research on Suicide and being an advocate for those struggling with mental health. Founded in New York in 1987, the AFSP now has local chapters in all 50 states. According to the website their mission is: “(To) save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

The Walk Out of the Darkness started at around 1:30, but there were tents set up all around that were interactive. One of the tents had a “remembrance wall.” Paper hearts were available write down the name of a lost loved one and pin it up on the wall. The color of the heart represented the different individuals lost. For example, white is the loss of the child, red is the loss of a spouse or partner, gold is loss of a parent, and so on.

Those affected would also put up small pictures next to the names and reminisce about the loved one. It ranged from toddlers going to put pictures of their Dad up, to elderly men suffering the loss of a grandchild.

During the walk, everyone was encouraging to each other and making sure all the participants had a smile on their face. Different “teams” wore shirts that had a lost loved one’s, name, date of death and sometimes even picture or quote from them.

Many different business were at the walk, handing out free things to show their support throughout the walk. Near the middle of the walk there was a table set up by Raising Cane’s that would hand out free lemonade and tea, also at the end Hiland Dairy was handing out free cartons of milk.

The walk raised $164,136 for the cause. “I was touched to see all of the people affected by suicide come together to spread awareness and to remember their loved ones” said senior Grace Wagner.

Photo by Blaine Wikoff
Seniors Grace Wagner, Erica Neesen, and Morgan Dvorack participate in the walk

If you would like to learn more about AFSP or need to use any of their services, click here.

Blaine Wikoff

Blaine joined The Flightline in January of 2018. He is a senior this year, involved in show choir, theatre, cross country, rock climbing club and band. Outside of school he plays bass, watches movies, plays video games and listens to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You can email him at [email protected]

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