Expectations high for “Out of the Darkness Walk”

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Every 13 minutes, someone in the United States commits suicide.

Suicide knows no boundaries. It can affect any age group, ethnicity or race. It has nothing to do with income or education. Suicide can become a tragedy for anyone.

In 2014, suicide came home to Troy Regional Medical Center when an employee took his life and another lost a child to suicide.

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“Troy Regional Medical Center supports fundraising and awareness campaigns for cancer, heart disease and other catastrophic illnesses but we were not doing anything in support of suicide prevention,” said Amy Minor, TRMC. “We began to recognize the great need.”

TRMC and Troy University came together out of the desire to meet that need.

“We learned that there is a national organization, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), a non-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide,” said Minor, who chairs the hospital- and university-sponsored “Out of the Darkness Walk” that sheds light on a dark subject.

“Last year was our first ‘Out of the Darkness Walk,’” Minor said. “A thousand people attended and we raised more than $20,000.”

The bar has been set for the 2016 “Out of the Darkness Walk” from 2 until 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9, at the Troy University track. And, Minor said expectations are high that both the attendance and fundraising bars will be eclipsed.

“Our sponsors for the ‘2016 Out of the Darkness Walk’ have been secured,” Minor said. “So, it’s time for teams to organize. A team can be made up of individuals, families, businesses, organizations – any group that would like to bring greater awareness to suicide and suicide prevention.”

For information, go online to afsp.donordrive.com and click on Troy to register a team in the “2016 Out of the Darkness Walk.”

“The Walk will be on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 9, and will include entertainment throughout the walk, hand-out materials and suicide prevention bracelets. The Butterfly Release will remember those whose lives have been lost to suicide,” Minor said. “The purpose of the event is to raise funds to generate greater awareness of suicide and ways that in can be prevented.”

Minor said Alabama ranks 24th among all states in the prevalence of suicide.

“Last year, 715 lives were lost to suicide in Alabama alone and 42,000 in the nation,” she said. “Suicide is the 11th leading cause of deaths in Alabama and the second leading cause of deaths among ages 10-14 and also the second leading cause of deaths among the 25-34-year old age group.”

Everyone is encouraged to form a team, join a team or be a team and participate in the “Out of the Darkness Walk” and help save lives through awareness of suicide and its prevention.