Hundreds walk to fight suicide and remember friends, family they’ve lost

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. There are more than 500 walks nationwide that help bring attention to suicide, and people right here Huntsville are fighting for suicide prevention.

Hundreds of people came together Sunday for a walk at Ditto Landing to remember friends and family that they've lost to suicide.

"I lost my brother in 2012 to suicide and at the time we didn't know of any resources," said Kari Kingsley, chairperson for the Out of the Darkness Walk 2018. "You really do feel like you're the first person this has ever happened to, so to know that there's an event like this that you can come out meet people who have been down similar paths as you it's a really uplifting event."

One of the most important parts of the Out of the Darkness Walk is to remind everyone that you're never alone and that other families have shared the same loss.

"Only they know what that feels like, just like any other family member - a mom, dad, brother or  sister - unless you've been in that situation you really don't know what to say to them or how they're feeling, and this is an opportunity for all of those folks to get together," said Mo "Mojo" Jones, host of the Mojo Radio Show and emcee for this year's walk.

Former American Idol finalist and Tuscaloosa native, Casey Thrasher, lost not only his father, but other friends and family members to suicide. Thrasher joined the afternoon walk because he knows first-hand how these events are changing lives.

"I see a lot of healing going on. I see a lot of really therapeutic stuff happening here at these events, so I can just see the burden being lifted off of a lot of people and it's really rewarding to watch and it's really rewarding for me as well it's healing for me too," Thrasher said.

Kingsley told WHNT News 19 that when this event started there were less than 100 participants and now it's grown to over 600. She says she's proud to be part of such a strong community that wants to raise awareness for suicide.