It’s here. This afternoon I’ll be leaving for New York City, and on Saturday I’ll be joining Team Chenango on an important journey: the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight, an 18-mile dusk ‘til dawn walk to raise awareness for depression and help prevent suicide.
It’s going to be an emotional night, I know, because we’ll be walking in memory of the loved ones and friends we’ve lost to suicide and in honor of all those they left behind. We walk, too, to prevent suicide, to save others the heartache we have endured and to help people who struggle with depression and other mental illnesses receive the treatment they need.
It is a cause that is important to my teammates and I, because suicide has touched each of our lives in different ways. For the same reason, it is an important cause for many in our community. So many have offered us their support, through their participation in our May 1 golf tournament at Blue Stone, through donations and through their kind words and thoughts. We will walk with each of them, and the loved ones they’ve lost to suicide, in our hearts.
Through the generosity of our family, friends and this amazing community, we have far exceeded our initial fundraising goal. We set out to raise $10,000. As of yesterday, we had raised over $17,000.
Our team numbers have grown as well. Initially, we had nine walkers. Saturday, there will be 14 people proudly wearing Team Chenango shirts. Our team consists of myself, Maggie Dorsey, David Emerson, Brian Meade, Teresa Hollister, Jessica Ryan, Kelly Ryan, Sandy Ryan, Steven Dykeman, Michelle Hamlett, Kim Begeal, Rhiannon Begeal, Caitlyn Wilcox and last but certainly not least, Danielle Marshman Williamson.
Danielle is our team captain and the driving force behind our efforts to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness. She walks in memory of her dad, Dan Marshman, who took his own life 10 years ago.
Danielle’s ability to take such a tragedy and turn it into a positive force to help others is awe inspiring. She is an inspiration to me, and I feel privileged and honored to be walking alongside her and the rest of Team Chenango in New York this weekend.
We’ve each spent the last few months gearing up for the walk and raising money. And on Saturday, all of our efforts will come together. We’ll join some 2,000 other walkers in our trek, raising awareness for depression and helping to prevent suicide with every step.
Our route will be a pretty interesting one. We’ll start in Brooklyn at Cadman Plaza and make our way through Brooklyn Heights to the Brooklyn Promenade and over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. From there, we’ll troupe through the Financial District to the island’s west side, where we’ll head up the Hudson River Park Greenway. We’ll turn east when we hit Midtown, then wind our way back downtown through Union Square, SoHo, the Lower East Side and China Town before trekking back over the Brooklyn Bridge in the wee hours of the morn.
There will be plenty of pit stops and a meal break to make sure we stay fueled and hydrated for our journey. There will also be cheering stations along the route. If you’re going to be in NYC this weekend, come cheer us on! Locations are listed on the Overnight website, www.theovernight.org. We can use all the support we can get.
If you can’t make it to New York this weekend, you can help us by sending positive thoughts our way. (Danielle has requested they be aimed specifically at her feet. Around about mile 14.)
There is still time to donate, too, if you so desire. Donations can be made at www.theovernight.org (search for Team Chenango and select the team member you’d like to donate to) or dropped off at Hoppie’s by noon on Friday.
Thank you once more to everyone who has been so supportive of our efforts to raise money and awareness for this cause. Together, we’ll see what a difference a night makes.
New York, here we come!
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