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Walking for Hope: DeSales Hosts Expanded Out of the Darkness Walk

by Janelle Hill Apr 21, 2021

Hundreds of people from colleges and universities across the Lehigh Valley came together virtually to walk for hope. 

DeSales once again hosted the Out of the Darkness: Lehigh Valley Campuses and Sigma Nursing Campus Walk to bring awareness to mental health needs and suicide prevention. 

This is the first year that the walk has expanded to all colleges and universities in the Lehigh Valley. Members of the DSU community could attend in person while other participants took part virtually. 

The event featured recorded messages from Pennsylvania Representative Mike Schlossberg and Maiken Scott, host of WHYY’s weekly health and science show, who shared her own experience of losing a family member to suicide. She encouraged those who are struggling to reach out. 

“If you are somebody who is not doing well today, try your best to ask somebody for help,” Scott said. “Get help and know that people love you, know that people care about you, and know that there is a better day ahead. Hold onto that hope.”  

Participants raised more than $47,000, exceeding the $30,000 goal. Donations will be accepted until June 30. All of the money raised will go toward the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) goal to reduce the annual suicide rate 20 percent by 2025. 

“The money is great because we can do lots of things with it, but it’s really about the fact that we have all these people out talking about it, sharing about it,” said Karen Peterson, assistant professor and director of the ACCESS BSN program. “It allows families and people who have lost someone to come together for support.” 

DeSales’ Student Nurses' Association and the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society chapters of Cedar Crest College and Moravian College helped to make the walk a reality. Lehigh Valley Health Network served as a gold sponsor, while other sponsors included Treatment Trends, Frey’s Better Foods, Lehigh Valley Martial Arts, and New Vitae Wellness and Recovery.