By Susan Johnson
A national suicide prevention group is making plans for the Third Annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8, starting at Anderson Japanese Gardens, 318 Spring Creek Road, Rockford. Check-in will be at 10 a.m., and the walk begins at 11.
La’Miracle Horton is chairman for the event. As an advocate for suicide prevention, she works with the leading national nonprofit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy. By hosting this community event, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention hopes to raise awareness and funding for suicide prevention.
The Rock River Times spoke with La’Miracle Horton recently.
TRRT: How was the event started and by whom?
Horton: “It was started by Americans for Suicide Prevention. Last year, it was hosted in Cherry Valley, and this year, since suicide is the third-leading cause of death, it’s been growing rapidly. Thirty-six thousand people are lost each year to suicide — one per minute. We are just trying to get it nationally recognized with the help of the community. We want to get the word out about mental illness. Depression is the No. 1 indicator for suicide.”
TRRT: Are people asked to pledge a specific amount?
Horton: “No. The Walk is free. We are looking for donations and sponsors to help sponsor this event. Also by sponsors donating, they will be able to have their own logo on the T-shirts and on e-newsletters and on the website of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.”
TRRT: Do you coordinate with any local agencies such as Rockford Rescue Mission or the Salvation Army?
Horton: “Not right now. We are in the process of coordinating with sponsors and other local agencies.”
TRRT: How far will they walk?
Horton: “It’s about 3 miles. There will be water stations along the way. There will be giveaways and snacks. We are also recruiting volunteers to help with the event.”
For more about Advocates for Suicide Prevention, call (815) 608-1750. Horton added: “The funds that we raise are going towards research and educational programs to help prevent suicide. With this walk, people are walking to help increase awareness about depression and mental illness and the survivors of suicide.”
To register to walk or donate, go to www.OutOfThe-Darkness.org.
From the Aug. 29-Sept. 4, 2012, issue