Walking to Prevent Suicide
Last week I had a friendly call from Erin, my Walker Coach. Every year she provides me with great encouragement and advice to help me hit my fundraising goals.
This friendly call from Erin caused me to reflect on my experiences walking in the Overnight Walk, in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. I first walked in DC in 2013 why took the spirit of the walk to heart and lifted the silence on my own suicide attempt 16 years prior. The point of the Overnight Walk is to change the stigma of mental illness so our friends, neighbors, and family members can gain access to the help they need. I shared my own life story with friends as I prepared for the walk and began to discover that everyone has a story about how suicide has touched their lives.
My second Overnight experience was at the Philadelphia walk in 2014. This time I was joined by a good friend I hadn’t spent much time with in years. It was great to reconnect, share stories of things that had happened in our lives and laugh about old times.
Then in June of this year I traveled to Boston for my third Overnight Walk with another friend who decided to join me. The pragmatic part of me always questions if you really need to actually do the walk since the money has already been raised for the cause. That is the goal right? I always ask this about any charity event. Wouldn’t it be easier to just ask for the donations and call it a day? It may be easier but not nearly as rewarding. Bringing everyone who supports the cause together to share a common experience is powerful. It is the people that you meet along the way that is a great part of the Overnight Walk. The Boston Overnight Walk this year was rainy, cold, and would make just about anyone depressed. Although in that moment of dreariness you find the warmth and compassion that is brought out by doing something difficult and sharing a human connection with someone.
I’m looking forward to the 2016 Overnight Walk in New York City. There is no place like NYC! The best thing I have learned through all of this is that a mistake I made 20 years ago can now be an impetus for helping other people overcome their own difficulties just as I have.
Please consider making a donation to support me in the 2016 Overnight Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.