The annual Darkness Into Light run or walk in aid of Pieta House will take place in Longford on Saturday, May 10. Beginning at 4.15am from the Scouts Den, the 5k route will go around the bypass before returning to the Mall.
Peter Masterson from Dromard is the chairperson of the local organising committee and how the event came to held be in Longford: “I lost my brother-in-law this time last year; his anniversary just happens to be the night before the event. I was at the Ploughing Championships and I met people from Pieta House, they had a tent up and I went in looking for guidance after a tough year. I told them if they were doing anything in Longford to give me a call. They decided to host a run in every county in Ireland - it had been in Dublin previously - and they gave me a ring.”
The event will take place in Sydney, London and all across Ireland when thousands of people will run or walk at the same time, just as dawn is breaking. The fundraiser supports prevention of self-harm or suicide. The idea behind it is that people all across the world will walk out of the darkness and into the light in solidarity of those suffering from depression.
“There are 37 centres in Ireland” Peter told the Leader, “and 4.15am on the Saturday morning hundreds of people will walk, run or jog at the same time. The time of the walk ties in with the title as it starts in the darkness and finishes as the light comes up.”
“My aim is to inform people, make them aware that Pieta House exists. If you were getting treatment in Cork but moved to Dublin you would find consistency in Pieta House across the country. You find you can make a connection, the environment is the same. All the work they do is free and the idea is that someday there will be a Pieta House in all the big towns in Ireland.”
Not only does Peter want people to know of the facilities Pieta House provides, but he hopes with this walk they can help even one person. “Ten people per week die by suicide. The statistics are there but there are still so many that are not recorded; it could even be a lot worse. It is a horrible static and we have to do something. If we can save one life by this walk we will have done a good job. It is all about awareness and to let people who feel disconnected know that we care. There may be someone suffering in the county and they don’t know where to go.
“I describe depression as standing in the centre of a fast-flowing river. If we can take people from the river and back to the bank to safety we have done a good job. We can affect their lives.”
“There are six on the committee and we had no previous connection with Pieta House but we are working to make this a success. It is an extremely hard-working and wonderful committee making this a reality. I just hope the people of Longford will come out and support and absorb the emotion of it all. It is about the experience of slowing down and taking it all in.”
People can register online by clicking or by arriving early on the morning of the event.