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Walk to heighten suicide awareness

Recorder/Paul Franz
Members of the National Honor Society at Turners Falls High School are organizing a walk to raise awareness of suicide

Recorder/Paul Franz Members of the National Honor Society at Turners Falls High School are organizing a walk to raise awareness of suicide Purchase photo reprints »

TURNERS FALLS — The Turners Falls High School chapter of the National Honor Society, with their peers from other area high schools and anyone who cares to join, will walk the night away May 17 in a Relay for Life-style walk targeting a different killer.

The club’s 16 students settled on the theme, “Walk out of Darkness,” to bring the problem of suicide into the light and raise money for a nonprofit that seeks to do the same.

Senior Dan McCormack said suicides in recent years have been widely felt in the relatively close-knit area community.

“We’re all pretty young and we shouldn’t know people, but we do,” McCormack said.

Senior Troy Langknecht said the club hopes to increase awareness and education about the problem as the best way to help prevent it. Junior Lauren Grimard said including other schools will help to show that the problem is one that affects everyone, not just one part of the community.

The idea to do something came from a member of the society last year, and the club hopes to diffuse the impact as far as possible by involving students from other area schools and anyone else who would like to participate.

Modeled on the Relay for Life cancer fundraising walkathons, the event will see walkers circle the Turners Falls High School’s quarter-mile track from 6 p.m. Friday, May 17 until 10 a.m. the following morning.

Registration fees, sales of T-shirts — member-designed, $10 — and bake sale concessions will raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

In deference to the all-weather track — springier underfoot but more likely to melt than the gravel of the Franklin County Fairgrounds track, where the local Relay is held — candles and luminaries are off the agenda.

According to the latest state figures, 10 people took their own lives in Franklin County and Athol in 2010.

Join the walk

To register, contact NHS advisor John Carter at 413-863-7274 or email john.carter@gmrsd.org.

Registration is $20 per team (five students maximum) or $5 for individuals. Teams may bring a tent. Donations are welcome as well, and may be sent to the Turners Falls High School, c/o John Carter, 222 Turnpike Road, Montague, MA 01351. Checks should be made out to the high school.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:
ccurtis@recorder.com
or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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