Post Star - Sheri Alberti lost her 14 - year -old niece to suicide two years ago, and since then, she has struggled most with the stigma attached to suicide. Events like Sunday's Hike for Hope: Cody Climb allow Alberti and other people who have dealt with the suicide of a friend or family member to come together and get rid of the stigma, she said. If she had died of cancer or in a car accident, people wouldn't have felt so uncomfortable around us, Alberti said. It is moving when you see so many people come together who have gone through the same thing and support the cause. Alberti chaired this year's event, which aims to raise money and awareness for suicide prevention and mental health issues. Alberti and her daughter, Jessica, a high school student, have gotten involved in a number of events like Sunday's walk, which has given them an outlet for their grief, Alberti said. Every time I've done one of these events, I've met someone new who has gone through something similar, Alberti said. There are thousands of people every year who die by suicide and no one wants to talk about it. The Lake George event was started five years ago after Queensbury teenager Cody Miller took his own life in 2007; the walk was started by Miller's parents. Miller committed suicide after changing allergy medications, and his mother, Kate Miller, has since been working with elected officials to push for more federal regulations on the information distributed with prescription medications, including potential side effects. The goal of this year's event was to raise $15,000. Donations will be accepted through June 30, said Laura Marx, the area director for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Half of the funds raised go to the foundation's national office and are then put toward suicide prevention research. The other half stays in the region, and often goes toward funding educational and awareness events in schools, Marx said. The Foundation of the Greater Capital Region office covers 16 counties, from Greene and Columbia counties, north to the Canadian border, Marx said. There are similar walks scheduled for later this year in Lake Placid and Saratoga, which is the largest one in the region. More than 200 people pre -registered for Sunday's walk, and some additional people showed up without pre -registering, Marx said. The walkers took off shortly after 9 a.m. Sunday from the lowest overlook point on Prospect Mountain, headed for the summit. The Lake George event has grown a little each year, Marx said. Before the walk, people signed a memory board, with personal messages to lost loves ones, or general messages of hope and peace. Another table offered beads of different colors, which people could wear to represent who they were walking for. With suicide, the family feels very alone, Marx said. With this, literally, they are not walking alone. They are all different people coming together for different reasons.