Wednesday, June 22, 2011
If you aren't familiar with Out of the Darkness walks, they are sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This organization has so many resources for people who have lost someone to suicide, who contemplate suicide or who suffer from depression or other mental diagnosis.
There are community walks throughout the country, there are campus walks and there is one overnight walk per year. This year it was in New York City. I walked to honor my brother-in-law who died by suicide ten years ago. It's amazing to me that ten years have passed, but what a healing experience it was. We walked with over 2000 walkers who collectively raised 2.5 million dollars for AFSP.
The walk itself was powerful, mentally challenging and physically grueling. We walked 18 miles overnight. But it was the most amazing thing I have ever done. We started out at Cadman Plaza. . .walked through some of Brooklyn and then crossed the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. We walked on Wall Street, Broadway and right by Ground Zero. The sights were astounding, but my favorite part was meeting people who also had a story to share. I met a woman from Puerto Rico who just lost her son in February. They had walked the walk for years, but she lost him to suicide just months ago. She found the courage to walk this year without him. I met a woman who lost her brother, I met several teenagers who lost their best friend. I even met a woman who lost her grandfather to suicide one year ago.
In retrospect, what amazes me, is the resolve that, we, as human beings have to survive. I look back at all the years I have battled my weight and my depression and I realize that I am a survivor. I am on a journey to get healthy and to survive! I was so proud of myself for completing the full 18 miles and happy to report that I didn't have one blister! I trained hard for it. I set my mind to it and I succeeded - just like I am doing with my weight loss journey!
If you get a chance to check out AFSP - sign up for a community walk. It's for a great cause. Next year's overnight is in San Francisco. I'm not sure I want to walk those hills, but I may try anyway!