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‘Will you walk with us?’

Ciaran McLaughlin, Dr John Etherson, Debbie Deans, Joe Deans, Aidan McGrath, Ignatius Maguire, Aodhán Harkin and Ivan Barr, from the Strabane Darkness into Light committee pictured at the launch of this year's walk. They are joined by some of the young people who came along to support the launch.

Ciaran McLaughlin, Dr John Etherson, Debbie Deans, Joe Deans, Aidan McGrath, Ignatius Maguire, Aodhán Harkin and Ivan Barr, from the Strabane Darkness into Light committee pictured at the launch of this year’s walk. They are joined by some of the young people who came along to support the launch.

This year’s Strabane Darkness into Light (DIL) “is all about the community,” says Ciaran McLaughlin one of the event’s main organisers.

Darkness into Light is Pieta House’s flagship awareness 5K run/walk, and this year it will take place in 150 locations around the world.

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“Last year Strabane held its first DIL event and with almost 600 people taking part, it was a huge success for the entire community,” said Ciaran.

Building on that momentum Ciaran says he wants this year’s event to be even bigger and better.

“Darkness into Light Strabane, is quite simply about bringing hope to the people of this community,” explained Ciaran.

“It is to raise awareness and let people know that there is help available. It is also about encouraging people that need help to know who, and where to ask for it.”

Pieta House, a suicide/self-harm prevention centre which provides counselling and bereavement services is the main beneficiary of the event, but Ciaran also wants to raise awareness of local services.

“There are other organisations closer to home that can help people suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts and that is what this event is all about.

“The work Pieta House does is amazing, but there is organisations, within our own community that can provide the same services. For example here in our own town we have the Koram Centre, which provides a wealth of help services to the community and we want people to know there is always help close at hand.

“This is a world-wide event. It is a fantastic, positive show of strength and support and I would encourage as many people as possible to come join us for this year’s Strabane Darkness into Light.”

Debbie Deans who is on the Strabane DIL committee added, “Darkness into Light is something different. It portrays local people’s perspective of suicide and it is about getting people out together for some exercise and fun.”

Now in its ninth year, each DIL event begins in darkness at 4.15am, as thousands of people walk or run 5km route while the dawn is breaking. Last year 130,000 all over the world took part in this global event.

• Will you walk with us?  Darkness into Light 2017 will commence at Melvin Hall, Strabane at 4.15am on Saturday May 6.  Register online at dil.pieta.ie.

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