The first ever â€˜Darkness into Lightâ€™ walk in Longford will take place this coming May, in aid of Pieta House - the centre for prevention of suicide and self-harm, writes Patrick Conboy.
Held at the same time as similar events elsewhere around the country and further afield, the walk will take place on May 10, starting at 4.15am and following a five-kilometre circuit.
â€œThe walk will start at The Mall,â€ explained the eventâ€™s co-ordinator, Peter Masterson. â€œAfter doing a circuit of The Mall, it will head onto the Battery Road and the N4 by-pass, and then back to The Mall along the Ballinalee Road.
â€œParticipants can run, jog or walk, and parents can bring along their kids, too. The idea is to experience walking away from the darkness as the sun comes up.â€
There will be time for reflection when the finish line is reached, which should be around 5.30am.
Explaining his own reasons for helping to organise the event, Mr Masterson admitted that â€œI lost my brother-in-law through suicide last yearâ€ and he hopes the walk will â€œraise awareness for Pieta House and connect with people who are hurting or suffering.â€
Mr Masterson also revealed he has hopes for a Pieta House centre being established in Longford in the future.
â€œThe idea is that there will be a Pieta House within 100 kilometres of any one person in the country,â€ he said.
â€œToo many families are in mourning and pain through suicide. If we can save one life, then the process will have been worth it.â€
First held in Dublinâ€™s Phoenix Park in 2009, last yearâ€™s â€˜Darkness into Lightâ€™ event saw over 40,000 people taking part in walks throughout Ireland, while walks were also staged in London and Sydney, with all synchronised to start at the same time.
Established in 2006, Pieta House currently has five centres nationwide, and in 2012 more than 3,000 people availed of the charityâ€™s services.