WHAT: The Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk (Overnight, theovernight.org) is a 17-mile fundraising walk designed to raise awareness for the critical need to reduce the annual rate of suicide by 20 percent by year 2025 – saving 7,600 lives each year. Hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP, afsp.org), the Overnight raises funds to provide further scientific research, education programs and advocacy initiatives for mental illnesses and suicide.
WHO: The Overnight supports over a thousand Philadelphia-area walkers and volunteers who may have been impacted by suicide and mental disorders.
WHERE: Philadelphia Museum of Art (Opening and Closing Ceremony) located at 2600 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA, 19130.
- Walk Overview: Participants walk past Boathouse Row, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell and along the Delaware River. Learn more about the Philadelphia event including additional route details.
WHEN: Saturday, June 28 – Sunday, June 29
- Opening Ceremony: 7 p.m. Saturday, June 28
- Walk Begins: 7:20 p.m. Saturday, June 28
- Closing Ceremony: By 5 a.m. Sunday, June 29
WHY: More than 81 cents of every dollar AFSP receives is used to fund scientific research, education and prevention programs, and awareness and advocacy initiatives. This will be the first Overnight event hosted in Philadelphia. See the Greater Philadelphia Chapter for additional details on how to get involved locally. The Chapter hosts the second largest Out of the Darkness Community Walk in the country, with a little over 300 community walks held nationwide annually.
Interview Opportunities and Participants of Interest:
- Bob Gebbia, CEO of AFSP
- Dr. Christine Moutier, Chief Medical Officer of AFSP
- Pat Gainey, regional director for the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of AFSP
- Mary Ann and Ray Burke, who have walked in every Overnight event (totaling 14 events since 2002), and raised more than $325,000 in support of AFSP. They walk in memory of their son, Matthew, who served in the Navy at the time of his death.
- Brandon Marsico, an active AFSP volunteer, speaks about living with mental illness during the closing ceremony
- Craig Robinson, a former contestant on ABC’sThe Bachelorette,walks in memory of Gia Allemand, a former contestant on ABC’sThe Bachelor
- Dennis and Chris Tackett, who are walking in their 10th Overnight event in memory of their son Jeff.
- Rebecca Mogensen, who is walking in her 12th Overnight in memory of her father Clark, and other relatives.
- Honor Bead Participants
- James Holleran, whose daughter Madison, a Penn student and track star, died in January 2014.
- Gareth Bryant, a spokesperson for the organization Muslims Giving Back, representing all those who support the cause.
- Garett Scanlon, who lost his mother in 2010.
- Martie Ripson, who lost her nephew in 2010.
- Katie Gowa, who will represent all those who live with mental illness.
- Devon Cummings, who lost her sister in 2013.
- Stephen Barth, who lost his ex-boyfriend in 2001, his father in 2002, and a friend in 2013.
- AJ Paige, a panama and gulf war vet, who works for the Veterans Support Foundation and will be walking as a member of Ruck-Up, a team honoring military and veterans by wearing weighted rucksacks as they walk.
Photo and Video Opportunities:
- Inspirational opening ceremony, with speech by Brian Yeh, who lost his mother in 2009, and featuring an annual ‘bead ceremony’ which honors those lost by suicide, their family and friends, and those who live with mental illness, this year hosted by Craig Robinson (list above).
- FOX 29 Healthcare Reporter Dr. Mike Cirigliano will kick off the walk.
- Closing ceremonies with presentations by Bob Gebbia and Brandon Marsico (listed above).
- Check out route details, including the Finding the Light within Mural and The Steps of the Philadelphia Art Museum.
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The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide. To fully achieve its mission, AFSP engages in the following Five Core Strategies: Funds scientific research; Offers educational programs for professionals; Educates the public about mood disorders and suicide prevention; Promotes policies and legislation that impact suicide and prevention; Provides programs and resources for survivors of suicide loss and people at risk, and involves them in the work of the Foundation. Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, AFSP has 65 local chapters with events nationwide. Review the Annual Report to learn more about AFSP’s life-saving work. Join the national conversation on suicide and follow AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.