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Annual Darkness into Light Walk returns this May

Darkness into Light walk by Pieta house.

The annual Darkness into Light walk for mental health and suicide prevention charity Pieta House will take place on Saturday the 11th of May at 4:15am.

The walk will take place at 150 venues across all 26 counties in the country as well as in many international locations over five different continents.

Anyone can sign up to take part in the walk by going online and filling out a short form. You do not have to raise sponsorship, you simply pay the registration fee when signing up which varies depending on age. Adults pay €25, students, seniors, and job-seekers pay €20 and children aged 5+ pay €5. When you have registered, you can then order your t-shirt to wear on the morning.

The theme of this year’s walk is ‘hope’. Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta House says, “Hope is such a huge part of Pieta, it’s what we’re all about. We offer our services to those at risk of suicide, those engaged in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide so hope really is core.

“The walk itself is really symbolic of that journey from despair to the light. Know that there is light.”

The 2019 walk will mark 10 years of Darkness into Light, the walk started with just one location in 2009 when 400 people gathered in the Phoenix Park to walk together into the dawn.

Since then, the fundraiser has grown hugely and in 2018, over 200,000 people in 16 countries came together to show support for those suffering from a connection to suicide and self-harm.

Pieta House first opened its doors in 2006 at its centre in Lucan, Co. Dublin. It has expanded massively since then to 15 centres, all of which provide free, one to one counselling for those at risk of suicide, those engaging in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide.

They also operate a bereavement counselling service and a 24/7 crisis helpline. None of these services cost money and none require a doctor’s referral.

Due to their services being free, Pieta House is 90% reliant on fundraising and the phenomenon that is Darkness into Light is the tone of their main ones.

Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta House says without it, they couldn’t do what they do. “When you consider the breadth of our services, they are completely supported by Darkness into Light. It enables us to open our doors across the country every morning, it’s as simple as that. It really is actually that simple.

Electric Ireland has sponsored the walk for seven years now and over that time they have developed a special partnership and sense of community with the charity. Marguerite Sayers, MD of Electric Ireland says they sponsor the event for a number of reasons. “We bring light where there’s darkness, that’s our job, so even at a surface level there’s a connection.” Another reason for this sponsorship is Electric Ireland’s internal charity, the ‘energy for generations’ fund.

Some years ago, the staff in Electric Ireland were asked to vote on what causes they felt needed support. The two most popular responses were homelessness and suicide prevention. Then, when the opportunity to work with Pieta House arose, it all happened quite naturally.

Marguerite herself recalled the first time she took part in the walk. “I didn’t know what to expect, I really thought I’d come back and be down for the whole day but it was such a unique atmosphere. People were all walking in support of one another, that sense of community, it’s just really lovely.”

For more information on Pieta House, on Darkness into Light as well as how to register, you can visit pieta.ie, darknessintolight.ie or email info@darknessintolight.ie

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