ODESSA, Texas (Nexstar)- Hundreds of walkers braved the wind Sunday to show their support for those who have lost a loved one to suicide. The local chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention held its annual Out of the Darkness Permian Basin Walk, in all, those who walked raised more than $14,000 to help with lifesaving research, education, and advocacy for suicide prevention.
“I lost my grandpa to suicide in May. It made me realize there are so many people struggling who don’t let it show,” said walker Morgan Fossett, 21, who turned up Sunday to walk with her family in honor of her grandfather.
Walkers adorned with honor beads gathered at Memorial Gardens Park to pay tribute and offer support as they walked around the pond. According to AFSP, the different colored beads represent a different loss or personal struggle.
Fossett, who wore purple beads in honor of her lost loved one, said this year’s walk was her first and that she hopes the walk will inspire others to help those who are struggling.
“I wanted to walk to help bring awareness to suicide. The reality of suicide never really hit me until I lost my grandpa. To know there are so many struggling with this silent killer, I wanted to help bring awareness that you can get help. It takes one person to change someone’s life,” Fossett said.
Advocates were on hand Sunday with a list of resources for every participant to remind people they are never alone, an idea that Fossett says is of great importance for those thinking of suicide.
“Reach out and get help…your life is worth so much more than you think it is. There are people who care and love you more than you’ll ever know. Things do get easier…focus on that one thing to help you keep going,” Fossett said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 for help.