With the help of an Ocean City High School student and her mother, the high school has taken a major initiative to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s (AFSP) event, Out of the Darkness National Walk. Each year, Suzanne Morgan and her daughter Morgan Pfau, a senior at the high school, participate in the walk to raise awareness and to remove the stigma of mental illness in our society.
In order to walk, participants must each raise $1,000, except for students, who need to raise $700. To help Morgan raise the $700, the high school STOP Club will be selling ‘Honor Beads’ during community lunch and in the classrooms to allow students the opportunity to donate. ‘Honor Beads’ come in a variety of colors that show one’s personal connection to the cause and help identify others who share a similar experience. To learn more: http://www.theovernight.org/?fuseaction=cms.page&id=1043
“It is wonderful that Sue decided to come to us with the idea of spreading awareness for the Out of the Darkness National Walk. Having personal connections within the District to such great causes like this one, certainly help draw more attention from the community.”- Matthew Carey, Director of Student Services for Ocean City Schools
Although many participants of the Out of the Darkness National Walk choose to walk individually, Sue and her daughter Morgan walk for “Team Renza,” remembering Richelle Renza, who was lost to depression in 2001. They also walk to remember and celebrate the two lives that our community recently lost to suicide, Maliha Chowdury and John DelGrande. The net proceeds raised for the walk benefit AFSP, funding research, advocacy, survivor support, education, and awareness programs. It helps to prevent suicide and to assist those affected by it.
“In the US, a person dies by suicide every 13.3 minutes, claiming more than 39,500 lives each year. Raising the money to participate in The Overnight Walk is a monumental task, but while doing this, we raise awareness for mental illness and suicide. It is the most inspiring event we have ever been a part of.”- Suzanne Morgan
People walk to acknowledge and change the fact that suicide claims more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined each year, yet suicide prevention receives such poor funding. The goal is that, together, walkers can change the mental health conversation in our society and help end all of these tragic endings.
“I want to thank the Ocean City School District for supporting Morgan and me on this journey and for giving us the venue to raise awareness. We are grateful to have the opportunity to celebrate Richelle, Maliha, and John. In addition, if our small contribution can prevent one lost life, then it will all be worth losing one night of sleep. One life lost is one too many.”- Suzanne Morgan
This year, the Out of the Darkness National Walk takes place in Washington D.C. on June 17th for those who would like to join Sue and her daughter in remembering the lives lost in our community. You can also help Morgan raise money for her participation by donating to her fundraising page here:
“The Ocean City School District is proud to be supporting such an important cause, and one that helps not only our district, but far far beyond that. Best of luck to Sue and Morgan on their journey, from the fundraising, all the way to D.C. in June!”- Dr. Kathleen Taylor, Superintendent of Ocean City Schools