One happy group pictured at the Darkness into Light event held in Mountmellick. Photo Kevin Byrne.
The Mountmellick Darkness into Light event raised €31,000 for Pieta House this year.
The walk/run which took place on May 6, saw 2,000 people come together and complete 5km around the town at four o’clock in the morning, arriving to the finish line at the GAA pitch in Acragar as the dawn was breaking.
The event is now in it’s sixth year in Mountmellick thanks to organisers Susan and John Nelson and the committee.
“It was a brilliant morning, what makes it for me is the children that are at it, they are always in such high spirits, it is very hard to describe and it is emotional,” Susan said.
Everyone taking part in the walk pays a registration fee online, gathers money themselves through sponsorship or uses an online funding system.
The Mountmellick event has raised a grand total of €124,900 for Pieta House throughout the past six years.
“Thank you to everyone from the bottom of our hearts we are blown away every year. It is phenomenal. The community in Mountmellick is amazing, the phrase ‘small town big heart’ is so true,” Susan added.
Pieta House is a well-known national charity that provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service for people who are experiencing suicidal ideation, people who have attempted suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm.
“So many people have been touched by suicide now, I think it is their way of getting involved, anybody you meet has been touched by suicide in some way.
“The closest Pieta House to us is in Roscrea or in Lucan. All of the money goes into the overall funding of the charity which is so important because when a person goes to Pieta House they are usually put on a six week plan and their treatment is free,” Susan said.
Ninety percent of the funding for Pieta House come from fundraising events like this and the community in Mountmellick and surrounding areas pulled together to contribute.
“We were stuck for volunteers this year and the St. Patrick’s Day committee in Mountmellick were fantastic help.
“They came along on the morning and they sorted us out with a generator. So much work goes on behind the scenes and they were absolutely fantastic.
“Zingy Zest in Portarlington sent us over a huge takeaway on the morning to feed the volunteers, thank you to all of the businesses and the people who helped out or took part in any way,” Susan said.
It is estimated that 150,000 people took part in Darkness into Light all around the world on May 6 this year.
A total of €3.5 million was raised from this event in 2016, €1,000 allows Pieta House to provide support for someone in distress.
Samaritans Helpline - 116 123.