February 8, 2018

VSU Hosts Suicide Prevention Walk March 3

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University will host its second annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, to raise awareness and support for those who have struggled with or been affected by suicide. The event is open to the public.

“Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students, which is sad because it’s preventable,” said Samantha Watson-Jones, VSU accounting and finance student and walk chairwoman. “The purpose of the walk is to shine a light on this topic and get help for those who are struggling or watching a loved one struggle.”

The walk will begin on the VSU Front Lawn across from Brown Hall and circle campus twice for a total of 2.7 miles. Rest stops with water and snacks will be available to participants. Check-in and registration will begin at 5 p.m. Volunteers are needed for the event.

Speakers will share their stories as well as what services are available to those affected by suicide.

Registration is free for the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, but participants are encouraged to collect donations. All proceeds will benefit the Georgia chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention raises awareness, funds scientific research, and provides resources and aid to those affected by suicide. Established in 1987, it has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide.

“When you register you don’t have to pay anything, but you have the option to create a personal fundraising page to bring in money for the cause,” Watson-Jones said. “You can share it on social media and get friends and family involved. Whoever raises $100 or more will receive a T-shirt at the walk.” 

The goal is to raise $5,000 for suicide prevention by the end of June through the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk and other events, Watson-Jones said.

To register for the Out of the Darkness Campus Walk or to donate money, visit www.afsp.org/valdosta. Online registration ends at noon on Friday, March 2, but anyone can register in person at the walk.

A meeting to discuss the details of the walk will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, on the VSU Front Lawn.

Contact Samantha Watson-Jones at (404) 376-4169 or swatsonjones@valdosta.edu; join the VSU Out of the Darkness GroupMe at https://groupme.com/join_group/30957337/OSZUFD; or follow @vsuootd on social media to learn more. 

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