First walk to fight suicide set

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Monroe County is set to host its first ever Out of the Darkness Walk to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention this Saturday, and the support has already been outstanding. 

The fundraiser, which aims to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide, has already raised over $27,000, which is more than $10,000 over its goal. 

“We are very humbled by the support we have received,” event co-chair Dawn Woodall said.  “This is a hard year to ask for donations and sponsorship as most are struggling already. Our totals have exceeded much larger counties that have been doing the walk for years. Monroe County is an amazing place to live.”

Woodall is organizing the event with Nikki Harrison. Both women have lost sons to suicide in recent years, and both have participated in other walks in other counties. 

This year, Harrison approached Woodall to see if she would like to co-chair an event in Monroe County, despite neither of them having volunteered with Out of the Darkness before. 

“We thought it was something Monroe County needed and (we) wanted to bring awareness to Monroe County,” Woodall said. “Our first year to organize the walk has been a challenge because of COVID, but we are so happy with the support the walk has received so far.”

The event runs from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Lakeview Park in Waterloo, with check-in and registration beginning at 9 a.m. For more information, click here.

Online registration is closed, but anyone who would like to register can do so for free the day of the event between 9 and 10 a.m. 

There are 141 participants so far who have raised money, with all those raising more than $150 getting a T-shirt. 

With all those people, Woodall said there are plans to keep walkers safe. 

“Because of COVID-19 we have to limit the number of people that are together,” she said. “We will have staggered start times and the presentation will be virtual this year. We also just had to move the location to Lakeview Park in Waterloo instead of the courthouse square to better accommodate the changes we had to make.” 

Those who are uncomfortable with walking in a group at the park can also walk in their own neighborhood and send Woodall and Harrison pictures. 

To learn more or to donate, which can be done until Dec. 31, visit afsp.org/monroeil

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