The organizers of the Montclair-Verona Out of the Darkness Walk to be held on Sunday, October 22, are thanking the sponsors who have helped propel the walk for suicide awareness and prevention well past its original fundraising goals.
“We’re really honored to have the participation we’ve gotten from local businesses, education groups and churches for the important issue of educating our community on suicide prevention,” says Christina Citrano Sandy, one of the walk’s organizers. “This support form our sponsors will benefit people in our community who suffer from mental health issues or who have experienced a loss from suicide. We are very proud to work with these sponsors.”
“We are working with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which is the leading organization in the U.S. for suicide research, education, legislation and support for mental health and suicide prevention issues,” says Rosemary Citrano Gabbe, the walk chairperson. “The money we raise for the AFSP at this walk will go back into and benefit our communities.”
The businesses that have signed on as sponsors include the sports apparel store Academy Apparel, local restaurant Ariane Kitchen & Bar, the hair and beauty salon Anthony Robert Salon, the law offices of Bannon, Rawding, McDonald & Mascera, the biking enthusiast shop Electric Spokes and the physical therapy practice Pursue Physical Therapy in Verona; Peter Paul Landscapes landscapers and Tortoise & Blonde eyewear eye apparel of Montclair; The Fruited Plain catering of Pine Brook; Donegal’s Irish Pub, a Ramsey pub and restaurant; and Gray Scalable, a human resources consulting firm in New York City. Newman Cares, a Verona-based nonprofit, the congregation and choir of First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell, the Verona Education Association, which represents Verona teachers and paraprofessionals, and Verona P.B.A. Local 72 are also sponsors of the walk.
The Out of the Darkness walk is a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which funds scientific research, offers educational programs for professionals and the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention, promotes policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention, and provides programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk.
More than 700 people have now signed up to participate in the walk, which will be held in Verona Park from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Thanks to the involvement of these walkers and sponsors, the walk’s organizers have eclipsed their original fundraising goal of $25,000 and are now close to their new target of $75,000.
Online registration for the walk closes at noon Friday. However, anyone who would like to participate can come to the park on Sunday to register in person from the time check-in begins at 1:30 p.m. until the walk starts at 2:30. Walk donations are accepted until December 31.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in this country. It touches millions of lives—people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds—but the research is clear: suicide is preventable, and the more people who stand up for suicide prevention and mental health, the more lives we can save.