Many came out Saturday morning for the 14th annual Walk a Mile in My Shoes suicide prevention walk.
What started over 10 years ago with 500 walkers has now blossomed into a large event with well over 2000 participants.
Cloudy skies couldn’t keep, men, women, children, and dogs from putting their feet to the test.
This year the North Corning Volunteer Fire Department took part in the celebration. They were donned in full gear because they suffer too.
“We see things that most people can’t comprehend and it’s hard to get rid of sometimes,” David Smith, a firefighter with the department, said. “Thoughts obviously go through first responders minds as well”
From the music to food, to the lively atmosphere, this gathering was meant to lift spirits.
While the event is meant to bring awareness to a serious topic, it also serves to spread a bit more– Hope.
“That’s the message we really want to spread to people, that life is worth living and you’re in a community that will support you,” Shannon Oakes, the prevention coordinator with the Chemung County Department of Mental Hygiene, said. “We want people to be able to feel that energy when they here.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, there is one death by suicide every 12 minutes in the United States. Approximately 123 Americans die by suicide every day.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages
Statistics also show community awareness leads to destigmatization, and destigmatization leads to access to mental health services.
Songwriter Joe South once said, “before you abuse, criticize, and accuse, walk a mile in my shoes.”