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With Every Step: Why I walk to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness

Danielle and I before the start of the 2013 Overnight in Washington DC.

Danielle and I before the start of the 2013 Overnight in Washington DC.

Four years ago, I took a walk that changed my life.

My friend Danielle Marshman was training for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile dust ‘til dawn walk for suicide prevention and awareness. I’d been trying to
interview her about the walk, but had difficulty finding a time to connect. So I laced up my sneakers and accompanied her on a 6-mile training walk.

This photo was taken just after Danielle finished her first Overnight in Boston. Her mom surprised her at the finish line.

This photo was taken just after Danielle finished her first Overnight in Boston. Her mom surprised her at the finish line.

The cause was one that hit incredibly close to home for Danielle. Her father, a well- respected member of the local agriculture and business community, had taken his own life ten years earlier. During our walk, she told me more about her father than she’d ever shared with me before, and how difficult it had been for her to wrap her head around his death.

In the end, it was thanks to AFSP and the resources they provide for survivors of suicide loss that finally helped her start to heal. Part of that healing has been a desire to turn her own experience into helping others. She signed up for that first Overnight believing that with every step and every dollar raised, she was helping spare others from experiencing the same kind of loss.

Danielle walked by herself that year in Boston, but I vowed she’d never have to walk alone again. Her story, coupled with the loss of my life-long friend Jim to suicide, inspired me to get involved as well.

I walk in honor of my friend, Jim Garruto. His death left a hole in my heart that will never heal.

I walk in honor of my friend, Jim Garruto. His death left a hole in my heart that will never heal.

Together with the other members of Team Chenango, we’ve raised upwards of $40,000 for this cause in the last 3 ½ years. We’ve walked an awful lot of miles, too, between training and the Overnights themselves. And we’re not done yet!

As we speak, Team Chenango is gearing up for this year’s walk, which will be held in Philadelphia this June. And we hope we can count on you to help us get there.

On Sunday May 4, we’ll be holding our fourth annual Team Chenango Out of the Darkness Golf Tournament at Blue Stone Golf Club in Oxford, NY. This captain and crew event is designed to not only help us raise money for the AFSP’s suicide prevention efforts, but also to honor the memories of those we’ve lost to suicide and to raise awareness within our own community.

The cost to participate is $55 per golfer ($35 for Blue Stone members) and includes 18 holes of golf, cart rental and lunch. (Lunch is served from noon to 1.) Registration opens at noon, with a shotgun start at 1.

The day will include the “usual” – a putting contest, prizes for longest drive and closest to the pin, a raffle of Chenango-themed baskets, 50/50 raffle, etc. And we top it all of with a Community dinner following golf. Golfers and non-golfers alike are invited to attend. (A free-will donation will be accepted.)

Not a golfer? (Or even if you are!) There are many ways to get involved. Hole sponsorships are just $50. And we are always looking for in-kind donations for the raffle baskets, prizes, goodie bags and the Community Dinner.

To register a team or to discuss sponsorship opportunities, contact either Danielle Marshman (danielle.marshman@gmail.com) or yours truly (stagnaro.melissa@gmail.com). Golfers can also register directly with Blue Stone either in person or by calling (607) 843-8352.

And, last but not least… Team Chenango welcomes all donations. Donate today.

Together, we can see how much difference one night can make. For with each step, and each dollar raised, we support AFSP’s efforts to prevent suicide, increase awareness of the mental illnesses that often lead someone to take their own life and help those left behind, heal.

We hope you’ll join us in supporting this very important cause.

A very weary Team Chenango after completing the 2013 event in DC.

A very weary Team Chenango after completing the 2013 event in DC.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I know I always win “longest drive”, but I won’t be able to participate in the golf tournament this year. I am sorry I will miss it…..and playing with my wonderful team!! 🙂 But my thoughts will be with you and Danielle that day! Love you guys!

    Kathie

    April 7, 2014
  2. I know I always win the longest drive contest, but I am sorry to say I won’t be able to participate this year. I will miss seeing Danielle and playing with some wonderful ladies (who could that be??!!). My thoughts are with you, Danielle, her mom and the many others who have suffered a deep loss.

    Kathie

    April 7, 2014

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. With Every Step: Bringing suicide, depression and mental illness ‘Out of the Darkness’ | The Accidental Blonde
  2. A birthday wish for one of my favorite cousins: Coleen Farrell Coffey | The Accidental Blonde

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