Walk to save lives
‘Out of the Darkness Community Walk’ brings awareness and funds to suicide prevention programs
WAIMEA — The “Out of the Darkness Kauai Walk” is Saturday at the Waimea Athletic Field Complex.
It is part of a nationwide fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to invest in new research, create educational programs, advocate for public policy, and support survivors of suicide loss.
“Our biggest reason for doing this here is to bring the Westside community closer,” said Vanya Fagasa, co-chairwoman for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Hawaii chapter.
The retired Westside school bus driver witnessed a lot of kids being bullied and knew some that committed suicide, including her own nephew.
“In time of crisis, we want to make it easier for them to be able to be around people that understand what they’re going through,” Fagasa said. “Eventually we can teach them some of the signs for people contemplating suicide.”
She said they will have classes and workshops.
“We will point them in the direction to resources we have on our island,” she said.
Volunteers will provide water, fruits and live music to the 200 or more people expected to take part in the inaugural Waimea walk. There will also be information about suicide prevention programs, with booths from Legal Aid Society, YWCA, Life’s Choices Kauai, and other valuable resources.
“This is supposed to be paradise,” Fagasa said. “Why do we hold the highest statistics for deaths caused by suicide in the state?”
Thanks to walkers and donors, the Suicide Prevention Foundation has been able to set a goal to reduce Kauai’s annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025.
This is the third walk to fight suicide on Kauai but the first to take place on the Westside and around Waimea Canyon.
“This is something that has to be done on the Westside,” Fagasa said. “When you go to these walks, you get nothing but chicken skin and tears.”
Online registration closes at noon today. Anyone who would like to participate can register in person before the walk starts. Check-in and registration takes place at Waimea Canyon Softball Field at 8:30 a.m. The walk begins at 9 a.m. and ends at noon.
Donations for suicide prevention will be accepted until Dec. 31.
Info: Fagasa, 634-0826, email@example.com