An estimated 120,000 people turned out for dawn walks for Pieta House’s annual Darkness Into Light fundraising and awareness event.
The 5km walk, supported by Electric Ireland, got underway at 4.15am on Saturday morning, May 7th in nearly 120 locations in Ireland, including Ballaghaderreen, Castlerea and Roscommon town, as well as across the world. Abu Dhabi and Iceland were among some of the new international venues hosting the dawn walk this year. At home, over 20 venues came on board to host the event for the first time this year.
Venues in New Zealand and Australia were among the first to set off, followed by Asia and the Middle East. Europe followed suit with people in England, Scotland, Iceland and 90 venues across Ireland walking in solidarity with those affected by suicide. Finally, participants across North America began their walks from darkness into light as participants in San Francisco walked across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge.
“To feel the energy and the support of 120,000 people at our back is over-whelming. This is the Irish at their very best and it gives us the courage and confidence to continue doing the work of Pieta House” said Joan Freeman Founder of Pieta House at the event in the Phoenix Park, Dublin. “The relationship between Pieta House and the community, although forged in tragedy, provides so much hope for individuals and families throughout the country,” she added.
This is the fourth year that Darkness Into Light is being sponsored by Electric Ireland. Speaking at the event at Malahide Castle, Jim Dollard, Executive Director of Electric Ireland, said: “We’re very proud to be part of Darkness Into Light again and to support Pieta House once more. This year has been the biggest year yet and the event is so much more than a fundraiser, just as importantly it is successfully driving conversations around suicide and self-harm while representing hope and solidarity for those whose lives have been impacted by these issues.”
Pieta House is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. More than 20,000 people have availed of its services in the nine centres across the country. A tenth centre will open in Waterford in June this year.
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