Special to Iredell Free News

Sign up now to participate in the annual Central Piedmont Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention.

You can join as a team, as an individual, or you can donate at https://afsp.org/centralpiedmont.

The Walk will take place on Saturday, October 1, at Statesville High School. Sign in starts at 9 a.m. and the Walk begins at 10 a.m.

This event supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education and support programs, and its goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025. Leashed dogs are welcome to participate.

“Suicide touches one in five American families. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide,” said Susan Tolle, volunteer for AFSP North Carolina.

The Central Piedmont Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 550 Walks being held nationwide this year. The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention.

Last year, the Central Piedmont Walk raised over $42,000 and had over 300 participants.

Speakers at the Central Piedmont Out of the Darkness Walk will include community leaders, as well as individuals who will share their personal stories. This year’s chair is Kelley James, a retired Iredell-Statesville Schools principal.

Local sponsors for the Walk include Iredell-Statesville Schools, Iredell Health System, Kewaunee, Randy Marion, Cavin-Cook, Dennis Brown Painting, Denver Animal Emergency, D’Laney’s Sports Bar, Home Instead-Statesville, Hospice & Palliative Care of Iredell County, HunkaJunk Hauling, Integrity Security, James Land & Cattle, Jon C. Packman, DDS, Marty’s Pub & Grill, Moose-Martin-Haynes & Lundy, P.A., Manheim Statesville, N&T’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, Pinnacle Pressure Washing, Purple Heart Homes, Sawyer Insurance, Statesville Country Club, Troutman Chair, and World of Windows.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight, the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health. With the efforts of our courageous volunteers, and a real investment from our nation’s leaders, we hope to significantly reduce the suicide rate in the United States.”

About AFSP

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

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