MOUNT VERNON — The public is invited to participate in the Knox County Suicide Prevention Coalition’s 9th Annual 5K/10K Walk/Run, Thursday, Sept. 12, at Ariel-Foundation Park. A program for both participants and non-participants will follow the Walk/Run.
Ariel-Foundation Park is the place to be this year! While pre-registration is available, participants can register to walk or run from 4:30 p.m. through 5:45 p.m. at the event. Opening ceremonies will begin at 6 p.m., with the kickoff for both runners and walkers at 6:15 p.m.
Keynote speakers this year will be Mike Noser, a suicide attempt survivor, and Sandy Williams, an attorney and Chairperson of the Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation Board of Directors who lost her father to death by suicide. She will speak to her journey of healing and the saving grace of helping others. Walt Zang, Knox/Licking County 211/Crisis Hotline Director will speak, and Chris Smith, Director of Kenyon College Cox Health and Counseling Center, will speak to a new initiative on campus, “Send Silence Packing,” a suicide awareness program of Active Minds, Inc.
“We have an exciting new venue this year,” says Kathy Wantland, coordinator of the event. “The location, day and time, and activities have changed. We wanted to try something new to get wider community participation in an effort to create more awareness that suicides are preventable and there is help and hope.”
Suicide claims the lives of more than 1,100 college students each year and each one of those deaths touches us all, as does any such death. In Knox County last year nine completed suicides occurred. Our law enforcement responded to some 282 suicide threat/attempt emergency calls in 2018. The KCSPC promotes the message that suicide is a public health issue that is preventable. Learn the signs, reach out for help. Preventing suicides is everyone’s business. There is hope and help!
The public is encouraged to come out to enjoy an evening at Ariel-Foundation Park, even those not interested in registering. Come for the activities and good food and also partake in the comforting memorial ceremony at dusk at the Rastin Tower for those loved ones lost to suicide or tragedy. The tower and bridges will be lit in purple and turquoise, the suicide prevention colors.
Only the walk/run is by registration for which a small donation is requested. All funds received will go toward suicide prevention education and awareness. To pre-register, visit EventBrite.com and search for “2019 Suicide Prevention Coalition” in Mount Vernon to register online, or visit www.namiknoxohio to download a mail-in form.
The coalition is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit charitable organization.