March 23, 2012

‘Out of Darkness Campus Walk’ set for March 31

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Suicide touches many people, and Southern Illinois University Carbondale student Cailah Brock wanted to do something about it.

Working with the SIU Lifesavers, a registered student organization, Brock, a junior plant and soil science major from Benton, organized the SIU Carbondale Out of Darkness Campus Walk.

The event, designed to raise awareness about suicide and funds for suicide prevention, is set for March 31 beginning at Colyer Hall.  Registration and check-in are from noon to 1 p.m. at which time the event officially begins.  You can register up until noon March 30 online at or just come to the walk and sign up there.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a person dies by suicide every 15 minutes with more than 36,000 lives lost annually. Among college students, suicide is the second leading cause of death.

Sharee Roberts of Anna, organizer of the town’s annual Survivors of Suicide Day, will speak at the University’s event.  There will also be a memory quilt with names and photos of people lost to suicide.  Participants may also write personal messages in chalk or on giant sheets of paper. 

Organizers will distribute honor beads too -- gold to those who have lost a parent, white to those who have lost a child and other colors in honor of family and friend connections. 

Then, participants can join in a 2.2 milk walk around campus lake.  There’s no entry fee or donation necessary in order to participate but anyone who raises $100 will receive a T-shirt.  You can also purchase the shirts. 

“We encourage people to make T-shirts, signs or anything else to celebrate the lives of loved ones.  This day is all about showing support for survivors and honoring those we have lost.  My biggest hope for this event is that we have a great day filled with compassion for one another, support and healing,” Brock said. 

She said the goal is to raise awareness about suicide and depression, save lives and raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to use for research and education programs.

For more information about the walk, contact Brock at