Walk to raise awareness, fundraise for suicide prevention

The West Virginia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s second annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk will take place Saturday, Oct. 19 at Ritter Park. Registration will begin at 11 a.m., and the walk itself will start at 1 p.m.

Susan Runion, walk chair for Huntington’s OOTD chapter, said money raised from the walk will support AFSP suicide prevention education programs, as well as help those affected by suicide.

“(It) will provide much needed funding for scientific research, public policy changes and national awareness,” Runion said. “40% of all walk dollars raised in West Virginia stay here in West Virginia and are used in West Virginia by the AFSP state chapter for trainings around the state in prevention, postvention help and other awareness initiatives including an advocacy day in Charleston at the Capitol during the Legislative session.”

Runion said the walks also provide a community for those affected by suicide, and it offers support and encouragement.

“The walks are the main platforms for AFSP for awareness and fundraising,” Runion said. “They provide opportunities for loss survivors to come together and lean on each other for support and encouragement, as well as give those who struggle with thoughts of suicide a community of people who understand that struggle.”

Those interested in registering for the walk may do so at afsp.org/HuntingtonWV, or participants may register the day of the walk. There is no fee to register, but Runion said donations are accepted.

Amanda Larch can be contacted at [email protected].