THOUSANDS of people across Limerick are set to walk at dawn to raise awareness of depression and remember loved ones who died by suicide.
Taking place on Saturday, May 9, the increasingly popular Darkness Into Light begins in darkness at 4.15am as thousands of people walk or run a 5km route while dawn is breaking.
The early dawn represents hope and is symbolic of the work of Pieta House, a suicide and self-harm crisis centre, which aims to bring people from darkness back into the light.
Last year’s event attracted over 80,000 participants in nearly 40 locations around Ireland. It also marked the first time Irish expatriates could take part with walks in both London and Sydney taking place.
This May, walks will take place in Limerick city, Newcastle West, Kilmallock and Killaloe/Ballina. The event was officially launched in Limerick this Tuesday night in the Strand hotel.
Pieta House founder Joan Freeman said “it’s remarkable to think that Darkness Into light will reach 80 venues in Ireland and abroad this year.”
Pieta House will also launch a pilot service in New York this summer, which will be based in the Irish Immigrant Centre in Queens.
“With the high rate of emigration over the last number of years and with all the generosity and support offered by Irish people to Pieta House we owe it to the Irish abroad to offer them a service should they need it.”
“Our mission remains the same in Ireland, but we are committed to offering the service to people who might need it further afield. The service is just a starting point to see what demand is there but we will also begin to roll out the ‘Mind Your Buddy’ campaign within the GAA in New York.”
Brian Higgins, chief executive of Pieta House said this year’s event will see an estimated 100,000 people all over the world supporting others on their journey from darkness into light.
“Our job in Pieta House is to be there for people at a time of crisis, to serve them in their need,” he said.
Darkness Into Light is the most vital component of Pieta House’s fundraising calendar. As demand for the service continues to grow and with more than 80% of Pieta House’s income depending on public donations, funds raised during Darkness Into Light are essential for Pieta House to continue to provide a free service for the increasing numbers seeking help.
Registration for Darkness Into Light is available online now at http://dil.pieta.ie.