It's about more than the money, says New Ross organiser Ger
Darkness Into Light is about a lot more than raising money, one of the New Ross event organisers, Ger Tobin said.
A huge crowd is expected to take to the streets of the Barrowside town on Saturday, May 12. Everyone for the New Ross walk will meet at The Apex, Bosheen, at around 3.45 a.m., heading along the N30 before travelling down the town towards the quayfront before heading along the N25 towards Kent's Cross roundabout, turning back into towards the Bosheen and finishing back at the Apex.
Ger said she became aware of the Darkness Into Light walk through her daughter Gráinne who attended one in the Phoenix Park in Dublin in 2016. She set about forming a committee including Trudie Power, Evelyn Doyle, Liz Murphy, Alex Hayden, Anthony Connick, Kara Katus Doran, Grainne Tobin, Paula Fox, Clodagh Nolan and Bernie Roche. 'I wanted to bring the event to New Ross in 2017 and we were successful in getting it,' Ger said.
To the committee's amazement around 1,500 people attended the walk at 4.15 a.m. on May 6 last. 'We were blown away by the response. We expected a few hundred people and we had to limit the registrations in the end. It's not just about money, people who have been bereaved by suicide or who have suffered from mental health problems or know someone who has benefited.'
Ger relayed a story of a woman whose brother died by suicide ten years previously. 'She never felt able to talk about it. Another lady said her son had died by suicide and she felt so lonely after and to be surrounded by so many people who cared enough to be out at the walk at 4.15 a.m. empathising with her meant the world to her.'
€24,000 was raised at last year's walk with proceeds going to Pieta House, a charity which recently opened a branch in Wexford town to help people with suicidal ideation and people going through difficult periods in their lives and also helping their families.
A new feature of this year's New Ross Darkness Into Light event is the Reflective Kilometre along Wexford Street to the ring road, where the word Hope will be illuminated. 'This is to give people time to reflect, whether that involves saying a prayer or taking a minute to think about themselves or a loved one, the choice is theirs.'
She said many people who had hoped to attend last year's event but were unable to for varying reasons have registered for this year's walk, urging people to register soon to be able to get a t-shirt. 'This year we are expecting a big crowd. Local schools are getting involved and local clubs also.'
People attending this year's New Ross Darkness Into Light walk are asked to be at the Apex at 3.45 a.m. where they will set off following the cutting of a ribbon and a few brief speeches. Ger thanked the volunteers who will be stewarding the event and local businesses who have supplied water and chocolate bars for after the walk. She thanked the Apex also.