Huge response to ‘challenging’ Darkness Into Light event
There may not have been much sun on the horizon for the annual Darkness Into Light sunrise walk last Saturday morning, May 8, but there was a lot of cheer as people across the county joined 140,000 others across Ireland for the annual Pieta House fundraiser.
For the second year in a row, the walk took a different format to the usual throng of people who come together in a heart-warming expression of community support for those who have lost loved ones to suicide.
“It was very, very wet. We started decorating the route in Con Smith Park at 6 o'clock on the Friday evening and we got sunburned, then we came back out at 3am on Saturday morning and we got pneumonia,” the Chairperson of Cavan Darkness Into Light Fiona Corby jokes of the 2021 event.
Con Smith Park was just one location, along with sports clubs, walking routes and many people simply chose their own route to support the cause. Thousands of people walked in the rain and wind to share a sunrise together, symbolising light in the darkness for those who suffer from depression.
The suicide prevention charity described the weather as “challenging for a challenging year”. So far this year, the national campaign has raised over €6.4m for Pieta House, with a further €1.1m raised on the Late Late Show.
At the time of going to print, the money raised from Cavan registrations and fundraisers had reached €56,814 and was still climbing. “It was very good,” Fiona tells.
“There were people walking from 3am. Two years ago, we had 3,500 people walking. Obviously our numbers were nothing like that, but there was a continuous flow of people right up to 7am. We received pictures from clubs and venues around Cavan and further afield. A lot of GAA and soccer grounds opened up to facilitate walkers. People decorated them beautifully. We distributed lights and banners to clubs around the county to make it special for people who made such an effort.”
Fiona said the local group made every effort to keep the spirit of Darkness Into Light going: “Because of Covid, there was a limit on what we could do. We did have the banner of hope in Con Smith Park. We also had sanitisation stations as well, so people could write their loved one's name on the banner of hope, then sanitise after. People also wrote names on a heart and that was put on a memory tree in my garden. It was important for people do be able to do that.”
The response this year has been positive: “I have to go to a few places this week for cheque presentations. It has been a fantastic community spirit.”
Pieta House has given tremendous support to those contemplating suicide and the suicide bereaved: “70,000 phone calls were answered in 2020, that's 70,000 people who reached out for help and received it. That is why Darkness into Light is so important. The funds that are raise keep this life-saving service open and free to every single person that needs it,” Fiona concluded.