Poignant Darkness Into Light walk
An emotional performance of 'Lean on Me' by the Redemptorist choir echoed in the dawn as thousands took their first steps on the Darkness Into Light walk in Dundalk on Saturday morning.
The walk which began on the grounds DKIT was once again held on behalf of Pieta House, Ireland's leading suicide prevention charity.
Event Director Sean Kelly told the Argus that the walk held a 'great personal significance for many people taking part.' 'There are so many reasons people take part. This year we had one family who carried a 40th birthday balloon with them. It was for someone who died a few years ago, but it was their way of celebrating his birthday.'
People also join the Darkness Into Light event to acknowledge their own personal struggles, said Sean, and for some it has become a way to connect with others who have been through similar experiences
'For the first time this year there was a silent kilometre from Hoey's Lane to the finish to remember those we have lost to suicide, which was a poignant moment for the many families present,' added Sean.
Among the thousands taking part were many young children, and indication too of how mental health and suicide can impact on all family members
Seán Kelly, Event Director, commented: 'We really appreciate and thank all the sponsors, volunteers and stewards who helped make this.'
He added: 'A special word of thanks to Sarah and her team from KSG Catering for hosting us and the contingent of the Redemptorist Choir who provided an amazing warm up performance.'
Pieta House provides 24/7 professional support to those seeking help and is available free of charge regardless of your address. 'We are aware of a growing number of people from the North East who access Pieta House,' said Sean.
He added 'Our committee will work with other voluntary committees in Ardee, Drogheda, Dunleer and Crossmaglen to bring a Pieta House to the Northeast but we need the continued support of the local community to advocate on our behalf.'
Anyone who is facing mental distress or who would like help can contact Pieta House at 1800 247 247 or text HELP to 51444.