Walk brings suicide to light

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held its Out of Darkness suicide prevention walk Oct. 15 at De Anza Cove in Mission Bay. This year’s walk honored the lives of service members who were lost to suicide.

The event brought in about 800 people and raised about $28,000 in donations.

A wellness fair was held at the walk; comprised of 35 organizations that are dedicated to helping those who are mentally distressed and the families that struggle with the loss of a loved one.

Preston Philips, news anchor for KGTV 10 News, hosted the event.  He gathered everyone around the stage around 8 a.m. for a warm-up before the walk and gave a brief speech about the importance of the event.

When the walk started, everyone was smiling and laughing.

Erica Mendoza, a 20 year old student from SDSU,  said  “I lost a very close friend this year in March, he was very close to the family.”

“It’s been really hard … suicide is not something you think of happening, but it does happen.  And that’s the reason why I’m here, because he made me a better person and I miss him so this is a nice way of getting together with friends and family and honor his life,” Mendoza added.

At the finish line flowers were handed out, and everyone was guided to the food and refreshments area.

Jessica Van Der Stad, Director of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, took the stage to congratulate all the participants and talk about her experience before and after joining the foundation. In her speech she gave detail about the loss of her father and how she found strength from that loss.

To conclude the day participants, entered a raffle that included gifts and certificates.
For more information about Out of the Darkness community walks visit http://afsp.donordrive.com/