The morning came early. After having a BLAST at Dapper Day (check it out), the alarm went off and I jumped into action, which really surprised me, I felt like I was in my twenties again. It was time to walk in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. On this gray morning, I felt bright and uplifted. I said that I would volunteer more after entering the world of M-F. Admittedly, I have not volunteered as much as I should and this walk was just a small step in that direction. Thank you to Jenn for sharing this event with me!
I originally posted earlier in the week about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and their Walk Out of the Darkness fundraisers. I was not sure what to expect, since this was my first time at this event. We gathered at 8am at the Oviedo Mall. Posters and quilts of lost loved ones rested on the ground of the registration area. Small clusters of family members and friends gathered together. Some were there, like myself, simply to give back. Others, more often than not, were there because their lives had changed forever; someone they loved had decided to end their own life. What a tragic ability we have as humans. That we can willingly take our own life. It is fascinating, heartbreaking, and sobering.
A local radio deejay, that I have grown up listening to, Johnny Magic of XL 106.7, called us all together to kick-off the walk. We listened intently, some snapping photos. Then began the explanation of this event, the listing of sad statistics and the dedication to those that have been lost. To punctuate the moment, the Winter Springs JROTC presented the American flag while the acapella National Anthem softly fell over the air. It was then that I noticed the family with matching t-shirts. A mother and two teen daughters. They were mourning the loss of their son / brother just five months ago. The tears fell from my eyes.
The walk began with the mother cutting a ribbon and her daughter releasing a small set of balloons. The stepped off, 3 miles through the Oviedo Mall parking lot in the early morning hours. Some groups played music on their phones, others caught up with each other’s social lives. I am not a runner, I take care of my self but I am not a fitness guru. It was nice to participate in physical activity and a charity event without feeling like I had to push myself.
Rain clouds crawled into the area. At the halfway mark, 1.5 miles the skies opened and the rain poured down. We kept going. We all knew we could simply go back home, shower and rest at the end. Our team reached our donation goal and we began talking about what events we could do next. We decided on “Step Up for Down Syndrome” at Lake Eola on October 13.
I will also be participating in the next Walk Out of the Darkness for Central Florida, on February 2, 2013 in Baldwin Park.