The Darkness into Light walk was held in DCU for the first time as an official venue on Saturday morning, May 12th.
The event is run by Pieta House and consists of a 5km walk as the sun rises to raise awareness of suicide and raise money to help prevent these rates.
The DCU Students’ Union set up the walk over the course of their time in office, expecting only 600 people to show as of the time of their application to Pieta House. The figure of attendees was over 1200.
“I actually couldn’t be happier with it, I’m over the moon it went so smoothly, there was so much preparation, so much work. As I said, in my speech, the first day I started, the first thing I did was, went into the office at half nine in the morning and rang Pieta House and asked how could we be an official venue and that’s a year ago and here we are now.
“It’s nice that comes around full circle so it was the first and last thing I finish off on but it just goes to show how much work and preparation and how long this was in the pipeline for us. So I think all that work and preparation showed is the reason why it ran so smoothly”, said Podge Henry, DCUSU Vice President for Welfare and Equality.
The walk began outside the Helix and return back there after a full lap of Whitehall, going down Griffith Avenue and up the Swords Road.
Before the walk began, speeches were made by both Henry and DCUSU President Niall Behan, along with Pieta House speaking and warm up routines from DCU Dance Society.
“I really do think the Darkness into Light was a huge success. It’s great to see the entire DCU community and members of the surrounding area come together for a common good. It’s only going to get bigger and better, it’s a snowball that’s why I think it’s so important to see so many from the local community there because it goes to show this is something with longevity and people believe in and for student’s around exam time, it highlights they are not alone”, said Niall Behan, DCUSU President.
The event was a big success overall as the turnout was double than expected, each giving at least a €20 donation towards Pieta House.
“We were only expecting 600, that’s what we had on the application form when we went for the event, but we had about 1200 tonight and we were a little worried at the start, would we be able to control that crowd, would we able for it but we had the man power and the volunteers. It’s not just a one man job there’s so many other people”, Henry added.
A Darkness into Light society has been set up in DCU as part of this event which will allow for these events and support for the charity to continue once the current Students’ Union have left.
“We’ve set it up as a society now which I think is the best route to go down, there will always be a chair, always be people running it the next year. It has the potential to be such a fantastic event. I can see this event holding five to ten thousand in a couple of years”, Henry said.
Henry also said that the event would not have been possible if it were not for the students who volunteered and made the event what it was.
“They made the event run so smoothly, the key point is having the students there who don’t mind volunteering and the tedious work, it’s all them. The students are probably the most important part of the event, the participants as well, I’m so delighted with it”, he said.
Pieta House is an organisation who work to support those with mental illness and those affected by suicide.
Image Credit: Ellen Fitzpatrick