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Active Minds remembers those affected by suicide at walk

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Marquette students pose by an MU flag.

Marquette students pose by an MU flag.

Photo by Helen Dudley

Photo by Helen Dudley

Marquette students pose by an MU flag.

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About 1,500 people gathered in Humboldt Park for the 10th annual Out of Darkness Walk Sunday, Oct. 8.

Twenty of those people are members of the Active Minds club at Marquette, and were attending the event for the first time.

Active Minds works to advocate for victims of mental health and suicide and decrease the stigma surrounding mental illness.

“This event is really important…just to raise awareness about suicide and mental illness in general,” Madison Hanson, a senior in the College of Health Sciences and secretary of Active Minds, said. “Also, it’s a really important healing process for those who have been affected by suicide.”

Photo by Helen Dudley

The 10th annual Out of the Darkness Walk was held in Humboldt Park.

The Out of the Darkness Walk is sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national organization. According to the AFSP website, the organization’s goal is to reduce the annual suicide rate by 20 percent by 2025.

Both AFSP and the local Active Minds group promote suicide awareness and encourage people to have conversations with each other about mental and emotional well-being.

“We’re all here in hope that someday we’ll be able to have an open conversation about mental health and suicide, and we’ll be able to recognize that it’s in our society,” Emily Rafalik, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences and communications chair of Active Minds, said.

In addition to raising awareness, the Out of the Darkness Walk is an opportunity to raise money for scientific research, educational programs and support for those impacted by suicide.

Jenny Fischer, a junior in the College of Communication who has attended the event for the past three years, was one of the most successful fundraisers this year.

“It started as a $500 goal, and I reached that in four hours. After that I decided to go big or go home. I upped my goal to $2,000, and we reached that before the day of the walk,” Fischer said.

At $2,050, Fischer was the third highest fundraiser for the walk. She promoted on social media and through friends and family. She didn’t do it alone, however. In fact, Fischer’s two largest donors were Marquette students.

“The fact that my two single largest donors were Marquette students speaks volumes about how Marquette students do care and truly do make a difference,” she said.

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