Members of the Oxford community and the University of Mississippi can come together Sunday, Oct. 15, to shed light on suicide awareness and prevention for this year’s second annual Out of the Darkness Walk.
Hosted by the Mississippi Chapter of the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, the walk offers participants an opportunity to make friends and find emotional support. The walk was created to raise funds for education, advocacy, research and support programs for those impacted by suicide.
The free walk will begin at 2 p.m. in the Grove. Participants will loop around the Ole Miss campus and end the walk in the Grove around 3 p.m.
Walkers are strongly encouraged to create a team in honor of a loved one, join a team and to raise funds which go toward the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
“Last year we raised over $10,000 and only had 100 walkers, this year we have raised over $13,000 and have over 400 walkers signed up,” said Maddy Gumbko, chair of Ole Miss’ Out of the Darkness Walk.
The walker that raises the most money will be awarded a $50 gift card to Bouré. Any walker that raises $25 or more will be entered to win a $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble bookstore. A free dinner for two at Ajax as well as a t-shirt from Cat Daddy’s will be awarded to a walker that raises $10 or more. These items will be raffled off after the walk; and participants must be present to win.
Walkers are also encouraged to bring pictures of friends or family that have passed away due to suicide. These photos will be placed together on a memory wall signifying “no person is alone.”
Honor beads of various colors will be available at the race. Each color symbolizes a different situation of how someone has been affected by suicide.
Maggie Crouch, a member of the Out of the Darkness Committee, said, “The honor beads are cool because they discreetly tell other walkers how suicide has affected you. They can be a conversation starter while you’re walking and also something you can take home with you to remember the day.”
The event will also consist of a balloon launch in memory of the loved ones who have been lost as well as a blessing from pastors of St. John’s Evangelist and The Orchard churches. Senator Gray Tollison will be among the speakers at the event.
Participants can register in advance until noon Friday, Oct. 13. Attendees can register on the day of the walk but are encouraged to pre-register.
To sign up or donate to the race, click here. Online donations will be accepted until December, and cash donations will be accepted at the walk.
By Emily Barnhouse, an intern for HottyToddy.com.
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