Suicide Prevention Walk
One week from today, 19 year old daughter and I will begin our 24-hour Walk for Suicide Prevention. This journey began for us shortly after Megan was released from the hospital in April of 2013. Meg had been hospitalized for suicidal ideation and although we were clearly beside ourselves with fear for her future, we decided as a family not to allow her depression to be a point of shame for her. Had she been hospitalized for cancer or a heart defect or any other other medical condition, there would have been no shame, and we wanted to make it clear to her there was no shame in her depression.
Within days of her release, she and I started fundraising for our first Overnight Walk with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. We raised almost $5000 between us and we went on to walk 16 miles with a few thousand people through downtown Washington, DC.
The following year, even as we struggled with our own depression, we became advocates of bringing depression out of the darkness, stopping the stigma. We talked and wrote about our struggles so that others might feel more free to speak up and ask for help. We wanted people to see that depression is not a weakness, that we understood that asking for help was hard but that when you did ask for help there were people out there willing to lend a hand. We wanted to make depression and suicide part of the conversation.
Through this advocacy, we decided it was time to step up our game. Last year, with no real training under our belts we took on our first 24-Hour walk. It wasn’t pretty, but we got it done, covering 42 miles along the Allegheny Passage. We walked through the night and raised over $2500 in the process.
This year we set a bigger goal, $10,000. We are less than a week away and we still have $4990 left to raise, but we are not giving up. We are asking everybody we know to dig deep. Empty your penny jars, shake out your winter coats, or write us a big ol’ check to help us meet this goal.
Since February, Meg and I have walked close to 500 miles in training for this walk. We have spoken to people about depression every chance we have gotten and we will continue to do so. And next week as we take on this crazy walk of ours we will cover close to 60 miles, thanks to the training we have put in. We know we can make a difference.