By Dalton Ross

Picture Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts – one of America’s most beloved ballparks. It holds 37,500 people. Now face the reality that in our country alone, over 39,000 people take their lives every year. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, and a suicide occurs every 13.3 minutes.

On Oct. 11, an Out of the Darkness community walk was held on Storrs campus outside of Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts in an effort to raise suicide awareness both in our state and nationally. Despite the rainy weather, over 150 people came out to support the cause. suicide awareness.

“Suicide is one of those things that can affect anyone… I mean we just learned that the hard way with Robin Williams. That it’s not something like cancer thor any of the other one’s that’s more selective. Anyone we know can lose somebody to something like this,” survivor of suicide Scott Schroeder said.

Schroeder said he got to a point in his life where he felt that he was drowning in darkness. He took 96 sleeping pills in an attempt to end his life. He is glad now that he got a second chance to find his way out of the darkness he was feeling.

“When you get to that point where you’re that despaired where literally you think the only solution is to end your life, and you have a bunch of people here who have all lost somebody who come together and even in the pouring rain, there’s so much joy,” Schroeder said.

Marie Pratt, wearing a shirt that read “Team Mark,” participated in the Out of the Darkness community walk to support her son Mark who committed suicide just months ago.

“My son committed suicide on June 25th of this year and this walk means a lot. I put my heart and soul into it. I can’t help my son, but I’m hoping whatever little we raise helps somebody,” Pratt said.

21-year-old Alexis D’Aloisio of Tolland, Connecticut came out to the walk in memory of her best friend who committed suicide four years ago.

“I want to have a world without suicide one day so every walk we do brings us one step closer to that,” D’Aloisio said.

Despite the inclement weather, turnout was high and event chairman John Kissane said he was happy with how the day went.

“The weather’s not too good, but we’ve been through worse,” Kissane said.

Photo Credit: John Faolin

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