TULSA, OK -- Later this month, a number of Tulsa residents will be walking for Out of the Darkness Community Walk for suicide prevention and awareness.
The fundraising walk benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) by helping to support local and national suicide prevention and awareness programs.
"Our hopes for Tulsa's first walk were very simple," says walk Chairman Lauren Lunsford. "This year however, has been very hard. We are losing more than money in this economic crisis, we are losing lives. "
It is estimated that close to one million Americans make a suicide attempt, more than 30,000 die by suicide and more than 20 million suffer from depression each year.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens and young adults and the second leading cause of death for college students.
"The walk is a way to bring people who are suffering from this tragic epidemic together and start a place of healing," says Lunsford. "I walk to heal my path and help others."
This year's walk will have a special memorial area for survivors and a balloon release.
Billy "Rocky" Dunham will be walking from Carl Albert High School in Midwest City to Tulsa along Route 66 starting next Wednesday. Rocky lost his son in May 2008 to suicide.
"I want to raise awareness of depression and suicide in honor of my son". He will be housed by the First Baptist Churches in Wellston, Stroud, and Kellyville along the way," said Billy Dunham.
The walk will be held at Tulsa's Veteran's Park on October 10 starting at 10 a.m.