Annual Out Of The Darkness Walk Shines Downtown

The Out of the Darkness Walk proceeded Saturday morning after a ceremony inside Northwest Arena. Walkers wore shirts as members of teams to remember those who have taken their own lives. Balloons also were carried through the walk to honors those who have died as the result of suicide.
P-J photo by Jordan Patterson
P-J photo by Jordan Patterson

The Out of the Darkness Walk proceeded Saturday morning after a ceremony inside Northwest Arena. Walkers wore shirts as members of teams to remember those who have taken their own lives. Balloons also were carried through the walk to honors those who have died as the result of suicide. P-J photo by Jordan Patterson P-J photo by Jordan Patterson

Jamestown’s sixth annual Out of the Darkness Community Walk was one of hundreds Saturday across the country.

The national event is to raise awareness about suicide. The walk supports The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and is hosted by Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention and Chautauqua Tapestry, among other sponsors.

A ceremony held inside Northwest Arena in Jamestown kicked off the final day of suicide prevention week. The theme this year was based on lending a hand.

“It’s the perfect wrap up for Suicide Prevention Week in Chautauqua County,” said Annie Rosenthal, Public Relations Coordinator for Chautauqua Tapestry, said. “Chautauqua County Suicide Prevention Week’s theme this year is ‘Be the one to reach out a hand.'”

Balloons floated gently just above the crowd of people gathered inside the arena. Names were written on the balloons in honor of people who had taken their lives. The ceremony listed off names of people who took their own lives and a moment of silence was held. Participants could be seen wearing color coordinated shirts with names of people who they had loss and subsequently people formed teams in honor of those loved ones.

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“It really reinforces that we are all here to support one another,” Rosenthal said. “We all experience loss in our lives and it’s important to be the person, if you can, to step up and support one another through loss.”

Rosenthal estimated that attendance to the walk was close to 500. Registration for the walk was free but people were able to donate and raise money.

Various tables were set up around the hockey rink with information on suicide prevention and related information. A similar event will take place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving in November, Rosenthal said. People can check the Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention Facebook page for more information.

Members of Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention encourage people to visit crisisservices.org to learn more. Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention also wanted to ensure that people could call the Chautauqua County Crisis Hotline at anytime at 1-800-724-0461.

“The Community Alliance for Suicide Prevention is our local coalition dedicated to suicide prevent and awareness in Chautauqua County,” Rosenthal said.