Hundreds walk to bring suicide “Out of the Darkness”; photo gallery

Participants cross the street near Highland Park at the start of “Out of the Darkness Walk” sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Washington, Utah, Sept. 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

WASHINGTON CITY — Hundreds of people walked a mile or more in the bright, warm sunshine along the sidewalks surrounding Highland Park during Saturday’s “Out of the Darkness Walk” sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The awareness walk marked the eighth year the St. George area has hosted such an event, and organizers said it was the largest one in the area to date.

Organizer Taryn Hiatt films and thanks participants walking by during the “Out of the Darkness Walk” sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Washington, Utah, Sept. 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

Taryn Hiatt, an area director for the foundation, said Saturday’s event attracted more than 600 participants and raised more than $20,000 for suicide awareness and prevention efforts.

Organizers say the idea behind the phrase “Out of the Darkness” in the event’s name is meant to suggest bringing the issue away from where it’s been hidden by shame and stigma and bring it into the open where it can be met with love and understanding.

“Welcome to the largest group of huggers you will ever know in your entire life,” area radio DJ Mikey Jon Foley said, shortly before he introduced several of the walk’s participants, each of whom were wearing different colored beads signifying a particular area of awareness and support. For example, purple beads were worn by those who’d lost a relative or friend to suicide.

Numerous Pine View High School students in attendance wore such beads in honor of their classmate Triston Myers, 17, who died by suicide earlier in the week.

Entertainer Alex Boyé, who wore a “Pine View Forever” T-shirt, walked alongside members of Myers’ family. Many of the other walk participants wore shirts or buttons with the names and or likenesses of loved ones they’d lost to suicide.

Read more: In wake of student’s suicide, Alex Boyé brings positive message to Pine View High School

Vocalists perform “A Million Dreams” during “Out of the Darkness Walk” event sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Washington, Utah, Sept. 29, 2018 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

As the walk began, the procession was led by a group wearing light turquoise T-shirts that said “Team Ty;” they were walking in honor of Tyler Breinholt, who died two years ago at age 37. Team Ty was the top fundraising team participating in the event, raising more than $3,000.

During the event, Boyé performed his original song “Bend Not Break,” the video of which he’d shown at Pine View High the day before. He also sang a couple other songs, including “A Million Dreams,” for which he was joined by Dixie State University’s Raging Red group and several other vocal performers who’d appeared in the song’s popular video, which has now reached over 1 million views in just over five months on YouTube. The Raging Red singers also performed a rendition of the uplifting tune “You Will Be Found.”

For more information about the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, including helpful resources, visit the organization’s website. If you or someone you know is considering suicide or struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 800-273-8255.

Check out St. George News’ photo gallery of Saturday’s “Out of the Darkness Walk” below.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

 

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