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Walk Brings Suicide Out of the Darkness

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Rochester: Walk Brings Suicide Out of the Darkness
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They are names, carried in their hearts. In their memories. The names of people who took their own lives, remembered at Genesee Valley Park.

"For me, coping has been finding other people who have walked in the same shoes as I have, and that understand," said Karen Heisig.

For Karen Heisig, it was her husband Mo, an Army veteran and pharmaceutical representative who committed suicide in 2006.

"He was the last person in the world anyone would have ever thought would commit suicide someday," said Heisig.

Others have suffered more recent loss.

"'I am Isaiah' was started because a 22-year-old young man, which was my youngest son committed suicide back in March of this year," said Rochester resident, Osibisa Johnson.

Isaiah Johnson's family had no idea.

"We were a close knit family, and he showed no signs we were aware of," said Johnson. "And he committed suicide because the world apparently got to him."

Hundreds of people came together for the American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide's annual "Out of the Darkness Walk."

"For me it's an important aspect of giving hope back to people and letting people know that just because you have a mental illness or an addiction or whatever's going on in your life, there's always hope," said Heisig.

The walk is AFSP's main fundraiser for its suicide prevention efforts. More than 38,000 Americans commit suicide each year, a fact organizers hope to bring out of the dark.

There's a lot of stigma attached to having a mental illness," said Heisig. "There's a stigma attached to that word, suicide. And it's important to talk about it and get the conversation started."

"No now we want to make everybody aware that it can happen in your family regardless of what's what," said Johnson. "And you can talk to them day to day and know know the signs."

Prevention, education, awareness. And comfort in knowing they're not alone.

"We survived this, and it's made us stronger," said Heisig.

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