'It's About Hope' - Over 100,000 People Expected To Stand Up To Suicide During Darkness Into Light
One of Ireland's more important events in the fight against suicide will take place this May, with Pieta House hosting its annual Darkness Into Light 5K Walk at 80 locations across Ireland and the rest of the world.
Darkness Into Light is a unique, early morning fundraising event which begins in darkness at 4.15am as thousands of people walk or run a 5km route while dawn is breaking.
This year, the walk will extend to England, Scotland, Canada, the US and Australia, with Pieta's Oliver Skehan revealing that the event has doubled in size from last year and is going from strength to strength.
"In terms of size, there are twice as many venues as last year with 80 locations staging the event across Ireland and internationally. Last year, nearly 80,000 people took it upon themselves to take part in 40 locations and this year we’re hoping 100,000 people will come out and support us," he said.
"63 of this year’s venues are in Ireland while the remaining 17 span five countries – England, Scotland, Australia, Canada and the United States. Due to the success of both Sydney and London in 2014 we tried to incorporate as many international venues into this year’s event and they certainly add an extra dimension to what is already a phenomenal event."
Skehan continued to say that while Darkness Into Light is the organisation's flagship fundraising event and helps to sustain life-saving services across its nine centres, the event also aims to increase awareness about suicide and self-harm and offer hope to those who are struggling.
"As it is our flagship fundraising event it enables us to sustain our life-saving services across our nine centres nationwide. Furthermore, it’s about increasing awareness about the scourge of suicide and self-harm and more importantly it’s about hope," he explained.
"Hope that things can and will get better, hope that our work will continue to shine a light into the dark crevices of people’s despair and hope that people will reach out to each other, to find comfort in the support of others in what can be very, very testing times."
He said that the aim of DIL 2015 is to get as many people as possible to set their alarms early and take part, encouraging participants to show solidarity as "no one should walk alone".
"Ask them how they are, is it their first time, how far have they travelled, even just say hello – doing so will embellish your experience even more. Suicide and self-harm have touched every community in this country and for that reason community and community spirit is what binds Darkness Into Light together.
"Participating in Darkness Into Light sends out a crystal clear message that every community in this country has decided to stand up to suicide, to shout stop by making Darkness Into Light an event to look forward to… an event that pulls together the very same community touched by the scourge of suicide and then walks into the light. There is certainly a sense of personal accomplishment in pulling on your iconic yellow t-shirt and playing a real part in saving the lives of people up and down this country and further afield.
Details on Darkness Into Light and how to register are available at DIL.pieta.ie