This piece originally appeared as a Volunteer Spotlight Story in AFSP’s 2019 Annual Report. For other inspiring and emotional Volunteer Spotlight Stories, and to learn more about our exciting work, visit afsp.org/2019report.
Apr. 14, 2020 - Amy Reed had never heard of AFSP until she lost her best friend Terri in 2011. In Fall 2011, she volunteered in the Omaha Out of the Darkness Community Walk. The interactions Amy had with people had a profound effect on her. Amy then joined the chapter’s board and helped grow the Omaha Walk from just over 1,500 participants to nearly 5,000 in 2019.
Organizing walks are not without challenges. Due to a renovation, a new location had to be found for upcoming events, with Amy leading the way in organizing logistics, toiling over maps, parking, and other details. But that wasn’t all. Three weeks prior to a recent walk, just as Amy’s daughter, who lives with quadriplegia, had to be hospitalized, the company supplying tents, tables, chairs, the stage, and truck rental went out of business. With the help of family and other volunteers, Amy not only conquered these obstacles, but boosted the scale of business donations by creating a fundraising partnership committee, helping the walk to raise almost $200,000, which will go toward our many programs and efforts.
“I knew from my first Community Walk that the people I met were my family, my tribe, my source of inspiration. The walks give people a space to feel safe — to openly grieve, while fighting for the cause. Organizing the walk is an absolute honor. It’s not only healing for the now thousands of people who attend, but it’s also healing for me. There’s a strength in being open and vulnerable in our grief. Loss isn’t something we get over, but we can grow within it and around it, allow it to be a part of our lives, and inspire and teach other people with our experiences.”
To learn more about our exciting work and read other Volunteer Spotlight Stories, see our 2019 Annual Report.