The official launch of the upcoming Darkness into Light run took place last Tuesday evening, April 9, in the Town Hall in Naas.
Now it its fifth year, the 5km run/walk in aid of Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm or suicide, will start at 4am on Saturday, May 11 at Naas Racecourse, the idea being that participants will cross the line as dawn breaks.
The launch was an emotional affair.
“This time next week, 10 more people will have died by suicide,” CEO of Pieta House, Joan Freeman explained, adding that eight of them would be young men.
She played a video featuring photographs and scenes from previous runs.
“I always see a young man in that video, and it really gets me,” she said, before breaking down.
She admitted that she and her team had received bad news in recent days.
Ms. Freeman made three promises to those present:
“One, we’re going to have the service within 100kms of every person in Ireland; two, we’re going to reduce male suicide in Ireland and three, we’re going to make this Government implement policies that will see a reduction in suicide in Ireland, and we’ll be leaders in the world.
“We’re going to keep fighting,” she promised.
Trish Canty, of Electric Ireland, which supports the event said the company was proud of its association with Pieta House and with what the charity had achieved.
Naas Racecourse is one of only 20 venues for a Darkness in Light run, the biggest of which is in the Phoenix Park.
Pieta House opened in Lucan in January 2006. Since then, they’ve opened two outreach centres in Tallaght and Finglas and two centres of excellence in Ballyfermot and Limerick.
It is expected that by the end of the summer, four new centres will open in Tuam, Roscrea, Cork and Castleisland.
Pieta House provides a professional, face-to-face, free of charge therapeutic service for people in the acute stages of distress.
To date, over 8,000 people have been helped by Pieta House.
Anyone interested in pre-registering for this event can do so in Tesco on the Monread Road on Thursday and Friday, April 18 and 19 between the hours of 12 noon and 6pm.
- Conor McHugh