Niamh Fitzgerald, Carew Park , Janet O'Connor, Rathbane, Frances Kearns, Ballysimon and Carole Costelloe, Carew Park at the Darkness Into Light 5K Walk/Run in aid of Pieta House PICTURE: DAVE GAYNOR
UP to 15,000 people have taken part in Darkness into Light events across Limerick during the early hours of this morning.
Walks took place in Limerick city, Kilmallock, Newcastle West and for the first time this year, Murroe, with all of the proceeds going to suicide prevention charity Pieta House.
In the city, more than 10,000 people gathered at Thomond Park from 3.30am onwards with the walk beginning at 4.15am.
The route saw participants – most of whom were wearing yellow t-shirts – walk along the quays and over both Sarsfield Bridge and Shannon Bridge before returning to Thomond Park.
The walk kicks off in the middle of the night and ends as day break to symbolise the journey from the darkness of depression to the light of wellness.
“We get unbelievable support from the people of Limerick. They always come out in their thousands to support this event. It is just overwhelming and unbelievable. It’s just getting bigger and bigger. Every year is always emotional for so many people,” said Kieran O’Brien, national events manager for Pieta House.
Now in its seventh year in Limerick, it is estimated around €130,000 was raised for Pieta House, which has a centre in Mungret.
All the money raised locally will remain in the area.
Candle-light messages of “hope” were placed along the route which was marshalled by gardai and a team of volunteers including members of Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol and Limerick Marine Search and Rescue.
Men, women and children, many of whom have been directly affected by suicide, from all parts of Limerick took part in the symbolic walk with most finishing before 5.30am.
Taking part in the walk, nurse Sheena Connolly, from Monaleen, said: “I work in intensive care at the regional so [suicide] is something you’d come in contact with every day. The impact it has on the families is devastating, and you just have to try and support them as best they can. It is so inspiring to see such a big turnout, but also so sad and poignant.”
As well as in Co Limerick, two other walks took place locally this morning: in Shannon Town, Co Clare, and at Ballina/Killaloe
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