Out of the Darkness Walk Sunday

Published 3:00 am Thursday, September 10, 2015

Every fall, people from all walks of life and from hundreds of communities across the nation walk together to prevent suicide, raise awareness and end the stigma that surrounds depression and other mental disorders.

On Sunday, Troy Regional Medical Center and Troy University will sponsor “Out of the Darkness Day,” a signature awareness and fundraising event in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The event will be at the Trojan soccer field on the university campus from 2 until 5 p.m. Sunday. The AFSP is a leading-not-for profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing suicide.

Amy Minor, TRMC Walk coordinator, said “Out of the Darkness Day” is an awareness campaign with an “Out of the Darkness Walk” fundraising component.

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Registration for the Walk will begin at 2 p.m. and the Walk will be from 3 until 5 p.m.

There is no registration fee but donations are appreciated.

“Participants may walk any length of time or any distance they wish,” Minor said. “There will be seating in the bleachers for those who are not walking or you can bring bag chairs. We will have music by Lenny Trawick and several other local artists. There will be a kids area with games and a bouncy house so parents can leave their kids safely managed while they walk.”

A Memorial Wall will be on site for notes and remembrances. The names of those lost to suicide will be recognized during the Walk. At the close of “Out of the Darkness Day, there will be a live butterfly release and everyone is encouraged to stay for that special tribute moment.

Minor said expectations are high for participation in “Out of the Darkness Day” based on interest and the initial fundraising efforts.

“The fundraising goal for the Walk was $5,000 and, through corporate donations and teamwork, we have reached and surpassed the goal,” Minor said. “Teams are continuing to raise funds and, with the Walk on Sunday, we now hope to raise $10,000.”

Of the funds that are raised, 50 percent will support the AFSP and the other 50 percent will stay in Alabama in support of local efforts to prevent suicide.

Minor said research is creating resources that are saving lives but the statistics continue to be alarming.

In 2013, suicide claimed 41,149 lives in the United States alone, with someone dying by suicide every 12.8 minutes. A suicide attempt is made every minute of every day, resulting in nearly one million attempts annually.

Minor said “Out of the Darkness Day” will be as much an awareness campaign as it is a fundraising campaign. The walk goal is to raise awareness about depression and suicide and to provide comfort and assistance to those who have lost someone to suicide.

“Troy Regional Medical Center’s goal in this is to touch lives by giving people resources and providing hope to those who may be in need,” she said. “Every participant will walk away with a lifeline number to call to get immediate help. They will know more about resources available in Pike County.

“We want people to know that there are those who care and that it’s all right to talk about your feelings. Every life matters. We want to save lives, save pain and grief and help people know that there is a light outside the darkness.”