Fuquay-Varina will have its first Walk To Prevent Suicide, Out of The Darkness on September 29, 2013. The actual event will begin at 11 AM but sign in starts at 10:15. Although there is no formal chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in North Carolina. Two local women and their volunteers are bringing this event to Fuquay-Varina.
Lisa Hoover and De O’Brien met in their neighborhood and found they had both lost brothers to suicide. The sharing of their grief and being able to talk about these deaths forged a strong friendship and formed a powerful mission.
Planning and Organizing the Walk
Last year Lisa approached De about having a Suicide Prevention Walk. As they talked with their Southern Oaks neighbors, 15-20 of them also joined the mission. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention sent them detailed plans on how to create a “Walk.” The neighborhood volunteers met monthly with De and Lisa to put the plans in motion.
In January necessary steps were taken to procure permits and permission for the Suicide Prevention Walk. Along with several of their neighborhood volunteers, De and Lisa went first to Mayor John Byrne’s office and then to Commissioner Ed Ridpath’s office at the Town Hall, and finally to the police department. Each representative of each department gave them total support and encouragement in planning the Walk. Some of the town officials plan to attend as well.
Goals of the Suicide Walk
When asked for the goals of the Walk, De O’Brien answered, “The purpose is twofold: of course it’s to raise money to keep organizations available to help people through those times, people who are either in crisis at the moment or who have ‘lost’ someone. But it is really, really a big part too, to make people aware. The awareness is equally important to us. “
The importance of awareness is reflected in the title for this year’s walk: “Out of the Darkness.” Family members of those who committed suicide have often suffered alone through the grief of a loved one, lost through suicide in the past, due to the stigma attached to suicide deaths. Worse still, the family sometimes felt guilt from their loved one’s suicide, wondering why they didn’t see the turmoil of their loved one in time to prevent their death. Suicide has been treated as a “hush, hush or dirty family secret.
The Walk will be at South Park, starting at Jeff Wells Environmental Greenway, with a loop around the track”. The shelter is reserved for registration. There will be a medical tent, as well as a booth by Clubworx “showing the positive benefits of exercise on decreasing risk of depression.” “Stop Suicide Now” from Chapel Hill will also have a booth. De and Lisa received an E-mail from the Department of Defense, volunteering to help and to represent the military.
One very important thing is needed for this event to take place: sponsors. Anyone or any business who donates $250, will have their logo on the back of the tee-shirts, which are given to each walker as long as the supply lasts. Participants are encouraged to gather $150 from family and friends but any donations are welcome. Each walker may make a team on the website and make a page for donations to be made through a loved one’s name. Lisa has Team John, De has team Dean Junior. John was Lisa’s brother who committed suicide over 8 years ago after struggling with depression. Dean was De’s brother, who suffered PTSD after serving in the military. He died 3 years ago.
More Info – Get Involved!
For more information about the organization or to start a page of remembrance for donations, please go to: AFSP.ORG/Walk . Also if you wish to be a much needed sponsor, De and Lisa need to know by August 15th. Their emails are: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com .