Shine a light: Out of the Darkness Walk makes an impact
Published 4:00 am Tuesday, September 15, 2015
Warmth and light flowed from Troy Regional Medical Center’s Out of the Darkness Walk, as more than 800 people gathered at the Troy University track to raise funds and awareness about suicide prevention.
“It opened my eyes,” said Josh Brabham, walking in honor of his sister who committed suicide in 2014. “(Suicide) is always something you hear about … but you never really think how close it hits to home until you actually see it. Being here today, you can see how many people it’s affected. Hearing some of their stories, you just find out so much. It’s so surprising.”
The track was filled with people honoring loved ones lost to suicide or just supporting the cause. Walkers wore colored beads representing how they have been affected by suicide and buttons or signs bearing the names of those who were lost.
Amy Minor, walk coordinator, said participants also had the opportunity to write testimonials on a butterfly wall and speak to counselors about their needs.
“We want people to know that there are people who will listen,” Minor said. “There are options when it comes to suicide.”
The walk allowed the community to come together to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention.
“I’m here for my sister, Jordan,” Brabham said. “In her letter she said that she lost her happiness in life and couldn’t ever find it. She said that she wants everyone to find their happiness.”
Brabham said the event allowed him to connect with others who are going through what he went through with his sister.
“It really means a lot to me because I have that personal connection with it,” Brabham said. “It impacted me so much. I was in complete shock because she had some of the greatest friends in the world. She was a senior in high school, played softball and had college offers to play softball. She was a popular girl.
“Up and out of nowhere, she did it, and we just don’t know why. We will never know why. All we can do now is show support and help bring awareness to it, and this is the perfect way to bring awareness because it provides so much for counseling and all that. I just hope one person finds their happiness out of this, because if they do, it’s all worth it.”
Troy Mayor Jason Reeves said he was impressed with the turnout, especially because this is the first year for the walk.
“I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of the community for this event,” Reeves said. “In its first year, it’s amazing what it’s accomplished. We stand ready to help every day and every year forward in coming out of the darkness and into the light … The more light we can shine on this, the more people we can help.”
TRMC partnered with Troy University for the event, and LouAnn Knight-Crenshaw, coordinator of event management and conference services at the university, said tthe university was proud to help sponsor the event.
“We are so grateful to be included in this,” Crenshaw said. “I don’t think there is a family that hasn’t been touched in some way by suicide.”
Crenshaw said suicide can easily be prevented if people would take a stand.
“We have members in the community that want to take a stand,” Crenshaw said. “We’ve got churches, Greek organizations, service organizations and so many people here today fighting this. I’m just so humbled, awe-inspired and proud to be from the City of Troy today and the university is very excited to be a part of this.”
Minor said the walk raised approximately $20,000 to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the leading not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing suicide.
“We want to thank the community for supporting this,” Minor said. “It was a very worthwhile event. If we can save one person’s life or touch one person, it will be worth every bit of it.”