On May 18, The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)-Greensburg, Indiana Chapter, will hold its second annual Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk at Greensburg Community High School.
As with the 2012 edition (held July 7), this year’s walk is being organized by Decatur County Director of Tourism Melanie Maxwell, Gilland Howe Funeral Director Leslie Asche-Thackery and Kimmie Maxwell.
The trio met April 18 to plan and coordinate the upcoming event. They were joined this year by Sherry Purvis and Shannon Dance, both also from Greensburg.
All of the organizers have been personally affected by suicide.
Maxwell said she looks forward to this year’s event, as last year’s wasn’t planned as far in advance.
“We’ve already got 118 participants (spread among 16 teams) for this year’s walk,” she said. “That’s double last year’s walk — plus four.”
“I think an event like this is so important for anyone who’s lost someone to suicide,” she added.
For the women around the table at Gilland Howe Funeral Home Thursday, the planning session was extremely therapeutic, according to Maxwell.
“It was obvious everyone around that table felt a connection,” she said. “Sherry lost her son about two years ago.”
Additionally, Dance lost her husband earlier this year.
The women will walk the track at GCHS May 18 along with the other walkers, from noon to 2 p.m., honoring loved ones lost to suicide and raising money to help prevent others from suffering the same fate.
They hope that, by moving the event to the earlier date, they’ll avoid the oppressive, record-setting heat that marked last year’s event.
In the long term, the group plans to create a local Suicide Support Group.
“We have nothing in Greensburg for the loved ones left behind by suicide,” Maxwell said. “To participate in something like that, you’d need drive to Indianapolis. There’s a definite need for such a group in our community.”
First things first, however, she added. Right now, the goal for Maxwell and her partners is to continue building awareness of the problem.
Such awareness starts with the Out of the Darkness Walk. After that, Melanie Maxwell, Asche-Thackery, Kimmie Maxwell, Purvis and Dance will pursue “facilitator” training through the AFSP to get a support group founded and functioning.
To date, the women have raised $1,745 of a $5,000 goal for the 2013 Walk. This year’s goal is roughly $1,000 more than the amount raised by the 2012 Walk.
“We’ve got more teens participating in this year’s Walk,” Maxwell said. “Plus we’ve got almost 30 sponsors this year.”
The 2013 AFSP-Greensburg Out of the Darkness Walk will be held from noon to 2 p.m., May 18, at the GCHS athletics track.
For more information, call Melanie Maxwell at 716-0665, Leslie Asche-Thackery at 593-0856 or Kimmie Maxwell at 593-9626, or visit www.afsp.donordrive.com and click on ‘Find an Event Near You.’
Contact: Rob Cox at 812-663-3111 x7011