ORONO - It was an emotional day on the UMaine campus as students, staff, and residents of the greater Bangor area spread awareness about suicide prevention and remembered those who have died by it.
The Out of the Darkness community walk is the largest fundraising campaign for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Over 300 people turned out Sunday for the walk, taking part in raffles, decorating signs, and participating in the honorary bead ceremony.
For many, this walk was very personal.
"This event for me is like being wrapped in a soft warm blanket. It just brings so much comfort to know that there are so many people that support the prevention of suicide," Roxanne Easler, a participant in the walk who has lost a child to suicide, explains.
"If you have somebody you know that is suffering from some kind of mental distress, help them out - seek help for them. They may be mad at you, but you can re-mend that friendship," Bill Bennett, who lost his son to suicide, says.
From this traumatic experience, Bennett and his wife founded "Safe Place", a group comprised of survivors who are dealing or have dealt with suicide loss. The group meets the first Wednesday of every month from 6:30-8:00 at Brookings-Smith Family and Arrangement Center (163 Center Street, Bangor).
Donations towards AFSP are being accepted until December 31, 2013. To donate visit Out of the Darkness.