American Foundation for Suicide Prevention holds Chippewa Valley Out of the Darkness Walk

Published: Sep. 17, 2022 at 6:55 PM CDT
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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) - Around 300 people were at the River Prairie Park in Altoona to participate in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Chippewa Valley Out of the Darkness Walk.

“It’s a walk to raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention,” Gena Orlando, Wisconsin Area Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, said. “It brings people out who have been affected by suicide, either because they’ve lost somebody to suicide or they have a personal struggle and more and more, we’re seeing more people who just want to support the cause of suicide prevention.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is an event showing people there is a community of support behind them.

“We often hear the phrase, ‘you are not alone,’ and when you come to an Out of the Darkness walk, you can feel that you’re not alone. You can see that you’re not alone,” Orlando said.

Each community member who went to the walk had a reason to support this cause.

“Well, my sister, her best friend’s mom, Tiffany, she lost her brother to suicide and we came to support him,” Isabella Robertson, one of the walkers, said. “But, I have also had plenty of people who have struggled.”

Orlando said this event also helps remind people they should be kind to themselves.

“There’s no shame in losing someone to suicide,” Orlando said. “There’s no shame in struggling with mental health or managing a mental illness. When you come to an Out of the Darkness Walk, all of those things are very, very evident.”

Participants also said they want anyone who is struggling to know that they are not alone.

“If you are feeling lost or need support, people are here to help you. People want to help you,” Robertson said. “Like I said, this is a great community to come feel supported.”

One of the other walkers, Megan Capra, agreed.

“We’re all in this together,” Capra said. “There’s a lot of people out there that either are currently struggling or maybe experience a loss and we can all come together and just honor those people in our lives.”

Orlando said the Chippewa Valley Out of the Darkness Walk raised around $25,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. That surpassed their goal, which was $17,500.

For those who need it, help is available, including dialing the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.