On April 25th, over a thousand people gathered at Dallas City Hall for the first of the 2015 Overnight Walks.
To open the event, Susie Bukybile, of Stretch Four Life, helped our walkers loosen up. AFSP’s CEO Robert Gebbia spoke about the organizations goal to reduce suicide 20% by 2025.
Then Lisa Shaoul told us about the loss of her father, Ralph, who had a large collection of cowboy boots and told people that he was from Texas when they inquired about the origin of his thick Israeli accent.
Priscilla from 106.1 Kiss FM told the stories of 11 people, who represented our nine honor bead colors, including our new teal beads. Loss and attempt survivors, people who have already gotten involved with suicide prevention in a big way, and people whose prevention efforts started when they registered for the walk, stood on the stage in front of the crowd.
After an energetic start, participants passed Klyde Warren Park as the sun set, stopped for midnight snack on the beautiful Southern Methodist University campus, and ended the night passing Pioneer Plaza’s famous steer sculptures. The Bank of America Building, lit in AFSP blue and orange, followed walkers all night. By the end of the night each walker had taken 32,000+ steps, covering more than 16 miles. Participants returned to City Hall Plaza to find thousands of luminaria twinkling across the stairs and around the fountain.
At 4am on April 26th, Greg Schroeder sang Stand By Me and Jake Swett told the story of his attempt and the importance of community, like the one at the Overnight. AFSP’s CEO Robert Gebbia announced that a total of 1.4 million dollars was raised. These funds support AFSP’s research, education programs and our services for those who have been impacted by suicide.
Thank you to all of our walkers, crew, volunteers and donors who worked tirelessly to make the Dallas Overnight a success. Whether you’ve followed us from coast to coast or you took your first steps with us in the Big D, we hope your experience was comforting and hopeful.
Experience the Overnight for yourself, there is still plenty of time to register for the Boston Overnight Walk on June 27. If you can’t join us this year,join our Save a Spot list and we will let you know when the 2016 host cities are announced.
Like what you're reading? Go to our Sharing Your Story page, where you'll find resources for sharing your own story, including story ideas, blog submission guidelines, tips for sharing your story safely and creative exercises to help you get started, and assignments for upcoming topics.
Write a blog post for AFSP! Click here for our Submission Guidelines.