Darkness Into Light in Killaloe / Ballina

The  Pieta House 'Darkness into Light' walk in Ballina. Picture by Killaloe photo-Charlie McGeever .
The Darkness Into Light 5km walk/run is the brainchild of Pieta House founder and former CEO Joan Freeman.

The Darkness Into Light 5km walk/run is the brainchild of Pieta House founder and former CEO Joan Freeman.

Pieta House, the centre for the prevention of self-harm and suicide, was founded in 2006 and this flagship fundraiser, now known worldwide as “Darkness Into Light”, first started in 2009 and is now in its 7th year. The first event in the Phoenix Park had approximately 400 participants. The symbolism of the walk, which starts in the dark and finishes as the dawn is breaking, is to provide a sense of hope for those battling with depression and to help them move from the darkness back into the light.

Killaloe/Ballina was selected to host the Darkness Into Light Walk for the first time this year. The twin towns were one of over 60 venues in Ireland and 17 internationally to take part. As many as 2000 people walked at this historical picturesque venue and it is estimated that over 150,000 participated worldwide, raising much needed funds to help those in suicidal distress or self-harming.

The organising committee were delighted Killaloe Ballina was chosen as host to one of this year’s additional venues. The dawn walk took place on May 9th commencing at 4.15am at the Ballina GAA grounds and followed a 5km meandering route through the two towns crossing the bridge over the River Shannon at Lough Derg, (third largest pleasure lake in Ireland) and those taking part returned by the same bridge to have a cup of hot tea and refreshments at the Ballina GAA clubhouse.

There was a phenomenal turnout and the organising committee, who are passionate about this work, were overwhelmed with the response. The huge amount of volunteer work put into this and the many other walks that take place, creates over 90% of the income Pieta House requires to run its services.

Full story on page 13.