Darkness Into Light St John Bosco Centre, Donegal town PICTURE: MATT BRITTON
Thousands of people were up before dawn this morning to prepare to take part in Darkness into Light walks across Donegal, Ireland and across the world.
From small villages such as Carrick in south west Donegal, to our islands such as Tory and to larger towns like Letterkenny and Donegal town, the story was the same as people arrived, some alone, some with friends and family, all keen to participate. The walks raise awareness and necessary funds for mental health and suicide prevention.
The start of the Darkness into Light 5k in Bundoran on Saturday morning Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Starting in the darkest hours of this morning at 4.15am, close to 200,000 walkers across Ireland and throughout the world started a journey into hope as part of Pieta’s annual flagship fundraiser, Darkness Into Light, proudly supported by Electric Ireland.
Jackie Spratt, Kyra and Shay McNulty taking part in the Darkness into Light 5k in Bundoran on Saturday morning Picture: Thomas Gallagher
Darkness Into Light has become global movement against suicide taking place in 202 venues across 19 countries in 5 continents, as people come together to remove the stigma around suicide and self-harm and spread the power of hope in Ireland and around the globe.
It was an inspirational morning in Donegal town as close to 1,000 people joined together welcoming in the dawn at the annual Darkness into Light walk.
Oisin Kane, Palo and Men Law taking part in the Darkness into Light 5k in Bundoran on Saturday morning Picture: Thomas Gallagher
All funds raised through Darkness Into Light will support Pieta to deliver its counselling, therapy and bereavement services across its 15 centres in Ireland, operate its 24-hour suicide helpline (1800 247 247) and contributes to the Resilience Academy programme which supports youth mental health in schools. Since opening its doors 13 years ago, Pieta supported 40,000 people who were at the point of suicidal crisis and/or engaging in self-harm.
Speaking on this morning’s events, Elaine Austin, CEO, Pieta said: “Darkness Into Light unites us as people, from rural communities to major cities, across the globe, in a spirit of comfort and compassion to give and build hope. It connects us all, creating the energy for change, in which suicidal thoughts, self-harm and stigma can be replaced by hope, self-care and acceptance.
"It is vital for the delivery of our services and for raising awareness. We are so thankful to have had [insert participant numbers] people walking with us today from Darkness Into Light. I want to thank our volunteers, our supporters, our partner Electric Ireland and all the participants for their involvement in this year’s event. However, the journey continues beyond the finish line of the walk. It is vital that we continue to build hope.”
Electric Ireland has supported Darkness Into Light and walked alongside Pieta for the past seven years to bring hope into the homes of our customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide.
Commenting on the long-term partnership between Electric Ireland and Pieta, Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, ESB said: “Electric Ireland has proudly supported Darkness Into Light since 2013, helping Pieta to grow the event from 20 venues to a global movement across 202 locations. Darkness Into Light is a true demonstration of the power of hope as people come together to offer support and solidarity to those who have been impacted by suicide; and today’s event was as moving and powerful as ever.”
Darkness Into Light is vital for fundraising and for raising awareness on the issue of suicide. If you didn’t get a chance to support you can still donate; visit www.darknessintolight.ie
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