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Mary J. Weiler, Published September 29 2013

Letter: Thank you for bringing suicide out of darkness and into the light

“Darkness, I have discovered, is the way we come to see. It gives us the sensitivity it takes to understand the depth of the pain in others. It creates the depressions that once faced, teach us to trust. It seeds in us the humility it takes to learn to live gently with the rest of the universe. It opens us to new possibilities within ourselves.”

– Joan Chittister

On behalf of the North Dakota Chapter of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, I want to thank the Fargo-Moorhead-West Fargo community. Thank you for helping us raise more than $50,000 at the eighth annual “Out of the Darkness” Community Walk held on Sunday, Sept. 22. Our community is making a difference in people’s lives by showing their public support, by being a safe place for those who are struggling and by honoring each other and those we have lost to suicide.

We thank our generous sponsors: Riverview Family Dental, American Legion, Bremer Bank, Case New Holland – Fargo Plant, Cornerstone Bank, Bank of North Dakota, Eide Bailly, Korsmo Funeral Home, Nash Finch, PDS Inc./Center for Sleep, RDO Equipment, Rumors Tavern, Thrivent Financial, West Fargo VFW Post 7564, Wimmer’s Diamonds,

Wal-Mart, Gate City Bank, Baker Garden & Gift, Prairie St. John’s, R.D. Offutt Co., Boulger Funeral Home and the F-M Sertoma Club. We also wish to thank the many other area businesses that made in-kind donations: Forum Communications, Cash Wise, Breadsmith, Sandy’s Donuts, Quality Bakery, Hornbacher’s, Erbert & Gerberts, Great Harvest Bread, Cash Wise, Sunmart, the High Plains Reader and Nativity Catholic Church. We also thank Rat from Y94 and Stephanie Goetz from KVLY for their participation in our walk and Tim Eggebraaten for his inspirational music.

A special thanks to everyone who participated and worked at the walk, including more than 60 teams, 1,000 walkers, walk planning committee North Dakota Chapter board of directors and the many volunteers who made the walk possible.

Every dollar raised through the Out of the Darkness Community Walk is used by AFSP to help fund research at the national level. Last year’s walk dollars helped the chapter fund a new Survivor Outreach Program, provide training to members of our community in the ASIST crisis intervention model, and fund the Interactive Screening Program at the University of Mary, Sitting Bull College and United Tribes Community College in Bismarck.

Each year, hundreds of people come together as a community to cry, to remember and support one another knowing that every step we take and every dollar we raise will help save lives. Thank you, Fargo-Moorhead, for bringing suicide out of the darkness and into the light.

Weiler, Fargo, a survivor of suicide loss, is chairwoman, North Dakota Chapter, American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.