The sun rises over the cross on top of Knockfierna Hill ahead of this year’s Darkness into Light fundraiser, set for May 8 | PICTURE: Mike Murphy
FOR the second year in-a-row, the flagship fundraiser for Mungret-based charity Pieta must take place virtually.
Instead of up to 10,000 people converging on Thomond Park for the annual Darkness into Light walk, Pieta is urging local people to sign up and mark the sunrise on Saturday, May 8 to show support for those impacted by suicide.
Whether it be writing a sunshine note, walking within what is allowed under Covid-19 restrictions, swimming, hiking or biking, the suicide prevention charity hopes local people will support the event.
Those taking part are being asked to sign up at darknessintolight.ie, or telephone 061-484444 for more information.
Pieta says its services are more in demand than ever, and while thousands of people will once again not gather for dawn walks across the country, the alternative event can unite everyone while people remain physically apart.
Last year’s alternative Darkness into Light event raised more than €4m for the charity, something which helped Pieta continue to deliver its services in Limerick and across the country.
Speaking about this year’s Darkness into Light, Pieta’s chief executive Elaine Austin said: “We have all been faced with some incredible and daunting challenges over the last year. Pieta is here to support all of those in suicidal crisis and our free counselling has continued, uninterrupted throughout the Covid lockdowns. Our clinical team provide services over the phone, via text and in-person in twenty centres nationwide and, since last year, we now provide free counselling over video.”
She says that the Covid-19 lockdown is making people struggle with loneliness, something worsened with social-distancing measures in place.
Calls and texts to Pieta’s helpline directly relating to suicide, self-harm and suicide bereavement rose by 25% in December 2020 as against December 2019, and Pieta is expecting the pandemic burden to have far-reaching implications throughout 2021.
Marguerite Sayers, executive director of Electric Ireland, which sponsors Darkness into Light, added: “We are proud to support Pieta with Darkness Into Light for our ninth consecutive year. The partnership is incredibly important to all Electric Ireland staff and customers. We understand how difficult this year has been for many people, and there is an urgent need to support Pieta with their mission to help those who need it most. Electric Ireland truly believes that when the nation comes together, it has the power to bring hope to those who need it most; a true demonstration of how we’re brighter together. This year while we can’t physically be together for Darkness Into Light 2021, we can still come together while apart and sign up, show our support for Pieta and share a special sunrise with thousands around the country.”
If you need Pieta’s support, Freephone 1800-247247, or text HELP to 51444.