With Every Step: Bringing suicide, depression and mental illness ‘Out of the Darkness’
On June 28, a mere 4 weeks away, I’ll be walking with my Team Chenango teammates in the American Society for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight. This marks the 4th year we’ve participated in this 18-mile dusk ‘til dawn walk to raise money and support AFSP’s suicide prevention and awareness efforts.
As we gear up for Philadelphia, where this year’s event will take place, my teammates and I are facing some challenges. The training miles aren’t adding up as fast as we need them to. Nor are we making enough progress toward our fundraising goal.
Typically we raise the vast majority of our goal with two events: a 5K in October and our annual golf tournament in May. But with less than a month to go, I’m sorry to say we’re still about $2,100 away from the absolute minimum our team needs to walk.
I lamented about this to my friend Danielle earlier this week. Danielle, who lost her father to suicide 13 years ago, is the reason I became involved with this cause several years ago. She’s our team captain and, in so many ways, the heart of Team Chenango.
Her response made me take a moment to reflect. Both on what we put into this walk every year, and why we do it. I thought I’d share.
Every year it comes down to the two big fundraisers that we put together and then the walk. And every year, it gets harder and harder. You know how it is. Life gets in the way sometimes. Every year, I wonder why I put myself through all of the aggravation. Then I stop to think about my dad.
Put simply – he was and is my hero. I love him with all of my heart. And I know there are a lot of people in our community who felt a strong connection with him as well.
When I stop to think about what he must have felt in the few weeks and months leading up to his death, I just CANNOT imagine the pain he was in.
As I complain about how hard it is to put this together, I think about him and I realize that the purpose is to prevent others from EVER having to go through this again.
It has been 13 years since Dad died by suicide from a disease that can be prevented if we could just start talking about it! This walk is so well named, because we need to bring depression, mental illness and suicide “Out of the Darkness”.
Thank you, Danielle, for that reminder.
I started stepping up my training walks as of yesterday, because there is no way I’m going to let Danielle and the rest of our team down. This is too important of a cause.
But we’re going to need your help as well. Any amount you give will get us that much closer to our goal. That much closer to Philadelphia. That much closer to bringing depression, mental illness and suicide Out of the Darkness.
Thank you in advance for your support of this incredibly important cause.
Visit www.theovernight.org and search for Team Chenango. This will bring up a list of team members and how close they are to making their goal.
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Select a Team Chenango member and make a donation through their donor page:
Steven Dykeman (Goal reached!)
Michelle Hamlett (Goal reached!)
Teresa Hollister (Goal reached!)
Brian Meade (Goal reached!)
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You can send your donation (checks made payable to Team Chenango) to P.O. Box 863, Oxford NY 13830.
On behalf of all of Team Chenango, THANK YOU.