By Samantha Biastre
The second annual Out of the Darkness campus walk is coming to KU on Sunday, April 17.
So far, there are 202 participants signed up to walk and $5,008.00 has been raised for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The walk is for the AFSP and is being hosted by the KU Health Ambassadors (KUHA) with help from KU Clinical Services.
AFSP was founded in 1987 and is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy.
With the help of the Out of the Darkness walkers and donors, AFSP has a goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.
Janet Whitehill and Kathy Loomis, two of KU’s Clinical Services nurses, brought the walk to campus. They hope to get over 600 walkers and raise over $10,000 for AFSP. Last year, there were 596 walkers and over $8,100 was raised.
The main goal for Whitehill and Loomis is to get awareness out to the campus community.
They want to let anyone who may be struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts know that help is out there. There are counseling services here on campus and the nurses are always available to talk.
At the walk, counseling services will be present if anyone wants to talk to them. There will also be activities that everyone can participate in such as making memorial flags in memory of someone who has passed away that will be hung up around the tent.
There is no registration fee and students can register the day of the walk or log onto afsp.org/walk and click ‘Out of the Darkness campus walks’ and then click ‘Find an Event.’
Students can register individually or with a team. Since there is no registration fee, students are encouraged to make a donation, but it’s not required.
Part of the money that is raised will go toward education so that Greek life, clubs and residence halls on KU’s campus are able to get speakers from the AFSP chapter in the Lehigh Valley. For anyone interested in the services that AFSP has to offer, contact Kathy Loomis or Janet Whitehill at the Health Center.
The walk will take place around the DMZ on the south side of campus. Registration will begin at 3:30 p.m. and the walk will be held from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.