Walk Held to Raise Funds, Awareness

Walkers line up behind the banner that led the event. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Walkers line up behind the banner that led the event. (Photo by Pat Blair)

People donned beads and walked Saturday in memory of friends or family lost to suicide, or just to support the cause of suicide prevention in the sixth annual Out of the Darkness Walk held in Sheridan.

Lisa O'Dell, a co-chair of this year's Sheridan Walk, said the first walk in the United States was held in 2004.

O'Dell said the annual community walk is the main fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization established 30 years ago to research suicide prevention.

Bill Hawley, who's chairman of the Wyoming chapter of the American Foundation, said the foundation is the largest private funder of suicide prevention in the United States. In opening ceremonies before the start of the walk Saturday, Hawley said research is the recipient of a lot of the money raised in the community walks nationwide.

O'Dell said the first walk in Sheridan was held in 2011, a year before the Wyoming AFSP chapter was organized. She said the Wyoming Out of the Darkness Walk was held in Cody in 2013. Since then, other walks have been held in Laramie and Riverton.

Donna Birkholz, who went to Washington D.C. as an AFSP advocate earlier this year, said Wyoming has one of the highest suicide rates in the nation. She said the suicide rate is the focus of some of the suicide prevention research. Nationally, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.

View more photos below.

Singer/guitarist Tris Munsick entertains the crowd during registration. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Singer/guitarist Tris Munsick entertains the crowd during registration. (Photo by Pat Blair)
People could write messages on boards that spelled out "HOPE." (Photo by Pat Blair)
People could write messages on boards that spelled out "HOPE." (Photo by Pat Blair)
Walkers visit while waiting for the event to start. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Walkers visit while waiting for the event to start. (Photo by Pat Blair)
SheridanWyoming.com

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