Hope is not cancelled: volunteers walk to fight suicide

Staff reports
The Chronicle Express

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities around the globe and the Finger Lakes region is no exception. Yet, another preventable epidemic is still raging; suicide remains the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. In 2020, the Finger Lakes Out of the Darkness Community Walk is joining forces with the Yates County Out of the Darkness Community Walk to hold a physically-distanced and virtual walk experience to fight suicide, demonstrating that hope is not cancelled.

The American Foundation for Suicide Preventions and Out of the Darkness logos.

“Suicide touches one in five American families,” said Natalee Carroll, co-chair of the Finger Lakes Out of the Darkness Walk committee. “We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

The Yates/FLX Out of the Darkness Experience will be held at 1 p.m., Oct. 4 at Keuka Lake State Park. This year’s experience will be hosted online as well as in-person, with staggered walk times to ensure proper physical distance. Participants can safely take part in a virtual honor bead ceremony and self-guided spaces for reflection. The experience is hosted by the Western New York chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and supports AFSP’s education and support programs, and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025.

The Yates/FLX Out of the Darkness experience is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness Overnight, Community and Campus Experiences being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts. Last year, the Yates County and Finger Lakes walks raised over $60,000 combined with a total of more than 700 participants.

To become a sponsor or register to participate in the Yates/FLX Out of the Darkness Experience, visit www.afsp.org/YatesCo.