Kickoff events for the fifth “Out of Darkness Walk” in Miles City begin Friday, September 5, from 3-6 p.m. at the FamFest at Jaycee Park before the Custer County District High School football game. The Mental Health Local Advisory Council will have a booth to register for door prizes and will show “Let’s Talk Miles City,” a home-grown media production addressing depression and suicide.
Final registration for the walk starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, September 6 at Wibaux Park with the three-mile walk beginning at 11:00 am. Individuals or teams raising $150 or more will be given a T-shirt. This year walkers may also bring their dogs for “Paws for Prevention.” However, pets must be on a leash, under control and owners are responsible to clean up after their pets. Some bags will be provided. Large and small bandanas for pooches are available for a suggested $2 donation.
The walk leaves Wibaux Park down Strevell to Main Street to Riverside Park, where there will be a water station. Walkers will then return to Wibaux Park for musical entertainment and refreshments. A pickup service is available for those who cannot walk the entire route. Refreshments after the walk include pizza donated by Pizza Hut, cookies donated by RSVP and other volunteers with bottled water furnished by Albertson’s. Miles City’s Wood N’Wire band will provide entertainment. Our regional suicide memorial quilt, sewn by Jeanne Vetch, will be displayed. Information will be available on how to have a loved one’s name and picture placed on the quilt.
Miles City “Out of the Darkness Walk” is one of more than 300 community walks (www.outofthedarkness.org) held each fall nationwide. These walks are expected to unite more than 100,000 walkers nationally and raise more than $9.5 million for suicide prevention. Last year, more than 100 people participated in the Miles City Walk. This fundraising walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which promotes local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs.
According to AFSP, nearly 700,000 people attempt suicide requiring medical care and more than 38,000 die by suicide in the U.S. annually. “This walk is about eliminating that stigma. It’s about bringing hope to those who have been affected by suicide,” notes Robert Gebbia, executive director for AFSP. AFSP is the leading national not-for-profit organization
exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy as well as reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. For more information please visit www.afsp.org.
Sponsors for the Miles City “Out of the Darkness Community Walk” this year include: oneHealth, Mental Health Local Advisory Council, Sanjel, Eastern Service Area Authority, First Interstate Bank, Pizza Hut, McFarland Family Dentistry, Billings Clinic, US Bank, Holy Rosary Healthcare, Stockman Bank, First Presbyterian Church, the national AFSP, and the AFSP—Montana Chapter. In addition to these sponsors, Debra Wilhelm Nesbitt and her parents Chuck and Mona Wilhelm recently donated a 1986 Chevy Corvette to raffle with all proceeds going to the “Out of the Darkness Walk” in memory of Eric Blind, to CNADA the local organization for domestic violence education and prevention, as well as for a mechanic scholarship in memory of DeWayne Wilhelm, beloved brother and son, who died of heart transplant complications.
To preregister or donate for the walk, visit www.outofthedarkness.org or call Carla Bichler at 234-4621 or Danielle Porr at 853-2484.