Even with the weather, it was a beautiful day for the Into the Light Suicide Awareness Walk which took place on September 28th at Rowden Park in Lapeer.  This is the second year that ELGA Credit Union has participated and it was a truly amazing event. There were 42 team members present and many of them brought family and friends.  This event was free and the public was welcome. 

This walk is an attempt to raise funds to support the Lapeer County Suicide Prevention Network. Their mission is to enhance personal suicide awareness, provide public education, decrease suicide deaths, and make available support for the survivors of suicide. There was a total of over $5,000 raised and that number is still growing. Some in attendance have worked throughout the year to raise funds and it culminates in the walk and coming together to help. Fundraising at ELGA resulted in giving over $2500.00 for this cause.

The day began in a downpour of rain, but it did not drown the spirits of those attending. There were colored beads offered to wear that represent the reason each person was there.  These reasons ranged from personal struggle with attempts or thoughts of suicide to losing a spouse, sibling, friend, parent, son or daughter and many more.   Regardless of the reasons, attendees were present to offer love and support. Along with walking for this cause, more funds were raised with raffles and vendors were selling items to benefit the cause as well.   Walkers also enjoyed live music and the bubble machines made it fun for children and adults too.  Most importantly, professionals were available to those in need of resources to assist in dealing with grief, depression, anxiety and thoughts of suicide.

The Sun Came Out to Support, Too

After some words from the Lapeer Department of Mental health and a moment of silence for those lost, we enjoyed a lovely walk around the park.  By the time the walk began, the rain had ceased and the temperature was perfect. It was a heartwarming sight to see so many in mass walking together in unity for awareness of this often overlooked cause.

Since I lost my brother to suicide three years ago, I have become mindful of just how many in our community are struggling.  Some are experiencing grief in loss while others are suffering mental illness and fight to stay alive daily.  It is a relief to know that mine is not the only family dealing with this and others truly do understand.   I am proud to belong to my ELGA family who recognizes the need for reaching out to the public about this topic in support of those affected by pain and loss.

The importance of this type of event cannot be overstated, for it is life support for so many. In a lonely world of seemingly hopeless days for so many, this coming together offers open arms of comfort and help to those in pain.

Author: Vicki Blakemore

Commercial Loan Processor

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