Contact: Alexis O’Brien, PR Director, 347-826-3577, firstname.lastname@example.org
NEW YORK (March 24, 2016) – By the time Steven D’Arbenzio was 18 years old, he had lost both of his parents to suicide – first, his dad, when he was 17, and then his mom, when he was 18. Steven is learning to cope with the grief, and has found a way to move forward in his healing journey. Today, he is now a graduate of the Manhattan School of the Visual Arts and recently started a new job as a designer for a creative marketing company in New York City.
On June 4, 2016, Steven will be participating in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk. Participants from across the country will come to New York City to walk more than 16 miles from sunset until sunrise to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention.
This year marks the fourth time Steven will walk in an Overnight, and his second event in New York. “The first time I did the Overnight I was really looking for something to help with healing. I wanted to find other people I could relate to. I found that in this event, which is why I have been back year after year,” said Steven D’Arbenzio.
For Steven, fundraising has helped him focus on something more than his emotional healing. Money raised from the event will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which funds research, creates educational programs, advocates for public policy, and offers much-needed support for those affected by suicide.
Steven’s story is just one of the thousands that make up the Overnight. Daryl Fitzgibbons, a teacher from Meriden, Connecticut, lost her son Tommy, an avid snowboarder and skier, to suicide in 1998.
“Immediately after losing Tommy, I went to support groups but stopped going when I felt like I didn’t have enough energy for even attending the support groups,” said Daryl Fitzgibbons. “Then in 2005, I participated in an AFSP walk in West Hartford, and I immediately sensed that I found a way to help other people, which helped me too.”
While many people have been touched by suicide, which is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, many are hesitant to talk about it. For survivors of suicide loss like Steven and Daryl, the Overnight Walks are a way to feel supported by a community of people who have gone through a similar experience. For those with a connection to the cause, the Overnight Walks provide a sense of camaraderie and a welcoming environment.
Each walker raises a minimum of $1000 to participate in the Overnight Walks. Since its inception in 2002, nearly 30,000 people have participated in an Overnight Walk, 5,000 people have volunteered, and over $35 million has been raised to support the cause. This year’s New York Overnight Walk will begin at The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in Midtown Manhattan, and go throughout the City.
There is also an Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk planned for San Francisco on May 21-22, 2016. Registration for both walk events is still open to the public.
To register for The Overnight, please visit theovernight.org.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide. AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health through education and community programs, develops suicide prevention through research and advocacy, and provides support for those affected by suicide. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.
Like what you're reading? Sign up for AFSP's monthly Blog Email, where you'll find blog highlights from the previous month, creative writing exercises, and assignments for upcoming topics.
Write a blog post for AFSP! Click here for our Submission Guidelines.