Step Out of Darkness on Saturday

Published 9:42 pm Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The Suffolk Out of the Darkness Walk will bring families and friends together on Saturday to remember loved ones, support one another and raise money and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health resources.

The Suffolk walk will be held on Saturday at Bennett’s Creek Park in North Suffolk. Registration and check-in will begin at 9 a.m. before the walk begins at 11 a.m. The event will end with a closing ceremony at 1 p.m.

The opening ceremony will feature guest speakers that will include an American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Virginia chapter representative. There will also be reading of names for those that have been lost to suicide.

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Participants may also pay their respects with a scrapbooking table where participants are encouraged to bring pictures of their loved ones. There will also be an honor wall for participants to display these pictures, if they wish.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth will bring all-white boots, with each one representing a sailor or Marine who died by suicide in 2018.

“It’s just a way of us coming together to say we will make a difference, we will make a change, and we will make sure that other families will not have to go through what we’ve been through,” said Suffolk Out of the Darkness Walk Chair Robert Avila, who lost his 17-year-old daughter, Katherine Lauren Avila, to suicide in 2016.

The Out of the Darkness Walks bring together hundreds of thousands of people nationwide to raise awareness and funds that allow the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in research, educational programs, public policy advocacy and support for survivors of suicide loss.

As of Tuesday evening, the Suffolk walk has raised $20,345, according to the website at Walk donations are accepted until Dec. 31.

The Suffolk walk will be 1.5 miles, which is five laps around Bennett’s Creek Park. Friendly, leashed pets are welcome.

Registration is free and open to the public. Online registration will close at noon this Friday, but anyone that wants to participate can register in person at the walk on Saturday, from the beginning of check-in until the walk starts.

Visit for more information.