The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Hundreds walk to shine light on suicide

 

September 16, 2018

Jamie Cushman

Walkers make their way around Hillcrest Park on Saturday morning during the Out of the Darkness walk, which organizers said raised $8,024 for local suicide awareness and prevention.

CLOVIS — Hundreds of people came out to Hillcrest Park on Saturday to shine a light on suicide.

Clovis hosted its first Out of the Darkness Walk, part of a nationwide series of community walks put on by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Clovis Chairman Janette Chavarria said Saturday's 5K walk around the park drew 366 people and raised $8,024, with that money going toward suicide prevention and awareness locally.

"I'm so excited. It's bigger than what I thought it would be," Chavarria said. "I'm glad how Clovis came together for this; it's awesome."

She said the large turnout shows just how pervasive suicide is in today's society.

"A lot of people (here), I didn't even know that they've had somebody that lost their life to suicide," Chavarria said. "It does touch everybody, people you wouldn't even think that are out here and they have somebody (they lost)."

Chavarria herself has a personal connection to suicide as she has lost multiple family members, including her 12-year-old son Hugo Chavarria last year.

She was especially happy to see such a large contingent from Marshall Middle School present at the walk to honor Hugo's memory.

"My son went to that school and the principal is here and staff and dance team. I'm just so happy that they're here," Chavarria said.

Principal Todd Morris said Saturday's event was a way for the Marshall community to come together for healing.

"It's been five, six months and it's still kind of fresh, it still brings about emotions," Morris said. "When I saw Janette this (Saturday) morning it was like it was yesterday to me personally because when I lose a child at my school it's like losing my own personal child."

Lynn Fronk, a social worker for Clovis schools, said a new program called "Signs of Suicide" will be coming to each school soon to help teach kids about the symptoms of suicide and to increase awareness and prevention.

Jana Clements, one of the walkers on Saturday, was happy to see an event like the Out of the Darkness walk come to Clovis.

"I think it's awesome to see Clovis get together for things like this because we didn't do this for so long," Clements said.

She said it's important for people with suicidal thinking to realize that there is help available.

"I think there's so many people that think they're alone and they don't have the option to do anything when now all you have to do is Google it. There's always somebody on the line that will listen to you," Clements said.

With the success of the first iteration of the walk, Chavarria said she will keep the event going for years to come.

"I will continue to do this every year. As long as God permits me, I'm going to do it," she said.

 

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