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100 walkers offer hope, raise $3,489


100 walkers raised $3,489 to combat teen suicide during second annual Out of the Darkness Walk Saturday at Tiger Field. 
Reporter/Mike Brown 100 walkers raised $3,489 to combat teen suicide during second annual Out of the Darkness Walk Saturday at Tiger Field. Reporter/Mike Brown One-hundred walkers gathered at the muggy Tiger Field track Saturday morning to raise funds and offer hope to teens who might be contemplating suicide.

Pam Kaufmann, spokesperson, said the second annual Out of the Darkness Walk raised $3,489 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

That total included $ 2,190 online, $1,162 in donations collected on-site and $137 in T-shirt and bracelet sales.

But the event wasn’t about money, it was about providing hope to young people.

“We want them to know somebody cares, that someone will be there, that they don’t have to think they’re alone,” Kaufmann said.

Becky Booker Marek, mistress of ceremonies, noted that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students and the third leading cause of death among all Americans ages 15-24.


Walkers remember with banners as Cody Kaufmann and Duck Shuffield provide live music. 
Reporter/Mike Brown Walkers remember with banners as Cody Kaufmann and Duck Shuffield provide live music. Reporter/Mike Brown WALK—The event featured a walk and a balloon release, both emotional events for the participants, many of whom had been touched by suicides of family members and friends.

Tracy Reyes Franklin, chair of the Central Texas chapter of AFSP, related that she became involved in Out of the Darkness walks after a brother’s suicide.

Dr. Howell Wright, superintendent of the Rockdale ISD, presented the welcome and Rev. Rita Sims of St. John’s United Methodist Church, gave the invocation.

Music was by Cody Kaufmann, Duck Shuffield and the Communities in Concert Band presented live music.

Jeff Curley of the group Pick w/Austin presided over a guitar giveaway.


From left, Tracy Reyes Franklin, chair of Central Texas AFSP, Dr. Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD superintendent. From left, Tracy Reyes Franklin, chair of Central Texas AFSP, Dr. Howell Wright, Rockdale ISD superintendent. The event was co-sponsored by the AFSP and Milam County Suicide Prevention.

Anyone in crisis should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


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