NEW PHILADELPHIA Dover, Oh

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This group from Quanex Building Products will be among the teams taking part the Walk into the Light suicide prevention event on September 23 in Newcomerstown.

Newcomerstown, Ohio - Suicide prevention advocates in Tuscarawas and Carroll counties are sending the message that there is help and there is hope.

The area's fourth annual suicide prevention walk - “Walk into the Light” - will be held at Newcomerstown's Lee Stadium on Sunday, September 23.

The event will be held rain or shine and kicks off at 2 p.m. with a welcome by mayors Pat Cadle of Newcomerstown and Joel Day of New Philadelphia. 

Afterward, Billy Ballenger of Fort Wayne, Indiana, and his intern team will present a motivational program called “Breaking the Grey” based on real-life situations faced by today's youth.

Ballenger will be followed by this year's local speaker, Dawn Hannahs, who will share a personal message about overcoming challenges.

After the speeches, participants will gather on the field for a yoga session. A balloon launch will honor lost loved ones and survivors prior to the start of the walk.

Individual and team registrations will be accepted beginning at 1 p.m. on the day of the event. There is no cost to register, however, donations will be accepted. 

Individual walkers are encouraged but not required to set a minimum fundraising goal of $150, and those who meet or exceed that goal will receive a commemorative “Walk into the Light” t-shirt.

Event Co-Chair Kristie Wilkin says all funds raised will remain in the community and be used to support education, advocacy, suicide prevention initiatives, and programs to support those impacted by suicide.

She adds that the funds will be overseen by the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Service Board of Tuscarawas and Carroll Counties with members of the local Survivors of Suicide support group helping to decide how the funds will be used in the two counties. 

In addition to funds, the event also seeks to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding suicide and depression, according to Wilkin.

“There have been so many suicide losses in our local counties this year. Suicide can be prevented, but many times people feel they can’t reach out for help because of the stigma that surrounds mental illness and suicide,” she says.

Co-chair Vickie Fisher says all are welcome to attend the event even if they do not want to participate in the walk. 

“If you don’t want to walk, come and listen to the speakers, have some refreshments and see what our walk is all about,” she says.

Wilkin says the planning committee for the event is grateful for the many sponsors, speakers, volunteers and teams that have come together to support this year’s event.

Corporate sponsors include Quanex IG and LMI Custom Mixing, Mobile Jams Entertainment, the ADAMHS Board, A.C.E. Inc., Wendy’s, Dover Philadelphia Credit Union, and Trinity Episcopal Church, Simpson Heating and Cooling, New Life Counseling, Novogradac, Meteor Sealing Systems, Union Hospital, Peterman Plumbing, Myers & Miller Podiatry, ATR Technologies, Trinity Hospital Twin City, Progressive Foam Technologies, NAMI of Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, Boltaron, Lincoln Mfg., Belden Brick, Tubar Eureka, and Dover Road Dairy. 

Anyone with questions about this year’s event is invited to contact Wilkin at 740-294-8496 or kkwilkin61@gmail.com.

Getting help

If you are concerned for yourself or know someone who may be considering suicide, help is just a phone call away:

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
  • Community Mental Healthcare 24/7 Crisis Line: Tuscarawas County - 330-343-1811; Carroll County -  330-627-5240

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