Up to 200,000 people in Ireland took part in suicide prevention charity Pieta House’s annual fundraising walk this month.
The Darkness into Light event is estimated to have raised nearly €4 million for the charity’s work and has grown to become one of Ireland’s largest fundraising events. Two years ago Darkness into Light raised just under €2.5 million and when it was first run as the ‘contagion of hope’ in 2009 it attracted 400 people.
Elated, overwhelmed, emotional, exhausted. A ripple was felt today all over the world. Thank you. To our volunteers, participants, & donors. To our sponsor @ElectricIreland, & to everyone who contribute so generously to make #DIL2018 such a phenomenal success. You are our hope.💛 pic.twitter.com/jbCO1gNJkS
— Pieta House (@PietaHouse) May 12, 2018
The sponsored walk event involves people walking at dawn and in Ireland this year there were 180 venues. The first Darkness Into Light event this year took place in Wellington and Christchurch, New Zealand. Most events overseas are run by Irish emigrants or those of Irish extraction living abroad.
The event begins in darkness at 4.15am, as thousands of people walk a 5 kilometre route while dawn is breaking. The biggest gathering was in Dublin’s Phoenix Park where an estimated 14,000 people gathered there for the walk.
Pieta House chief executive Brian Higgins said the popularity of the event is due to the high incidence of suicide across Ireland.
“Thanks to the generosity of all our participants and supporters, all of our services remain free, but the demand for them is ever-increasing,“ Higgins said.
Pieta House has grown very quickly over the last ten years, from an income of just over €500,000 in 2008 to over €9 million in 2016. The main income sources in 2016 were evenly split between donations and legacies and the Darkness into Light event at around €3.5 million.
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