PRINCETON - Gibson County Out of the Darkness Walk Co-Chair and American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Indiana Chapter Volunteer Davarna Bond of Princeton has a strong connection with the organization ever since her late daughter, Dayna Rainbolt, showed interested in suicide prevention in 2013 as a sophomore at Princeton Community High School.
"One day, Dayna came bouncing out to the car after school and told me she had to do a project for charity in her sociology class," Bond said. "When she told me she wanted to do a walk for suicide, I was caught off guard…Dayna had a prior suicide attempt that spring. She was doing so much better and we were doing better talking about her depression."
After they spoke more about the walk Rainbolt wanted to do, Bond told her to do research, which is when she found out about AFSP. Rainbolt had planned to do a solo walk for the organization where she would walk 20 miles from the Princeton Community High School to Hornady Park in Petersburg, and planned on calling it "Hope on the Move." Bond and her daughter planned on inviting family and friends to walk with her to honor Rainbolt and bring attention to suicide prevention.
"We lost her before she could do her walk," Bond said. "Then, through more research, I found out that AFSP holds a national walk all across the country, and I was just very adamant that we needed this in Gibson County."
The sixth annual Gibson County Out of the Darkness Walk to fight suicide is set for Sunday, Oct. 6, at the Bicentennial Park in Princeton beginning at 1:30 p.m.
Although suicide is an ugly, tough topic, Bond and Hughes say that the walk is the exact opposite of that.
"I think the walk takes a sad situation and unites it with a happy, uplifting atmosphere," Hughes said. "Not saying that tears aren't shed that day, but it's definitely uplifting."
This year's walk will include a silent auction, half-pot drawing, resource booths including Ireland Home Based Services and Brentwood Springs, concessions by Hillside United Methodist Church youth group, family/team activities, face painting, a bead ceremony and much more.
The bead ceremony allows individuals to support the life of someone who has lost their fight to suicide or who are currently struggling with suicidal thoughts and/or mental illness. Each color bead represents someone different; the honor bead colors signify:
- White: the loss of a child
- Red: the loss of a spouse or partner
- Gold: the loss of a parent
- Orange: the loss of a sibling
- Purple: the loss of a relative or friend
- Silver: the loss of a first responder/military
- Green: struggled personally
- Teal: friends and family of someone who struggles
- Blue: support the cause
"I talked to a girl last year that had done the bead ceremony and the loss of her dad was very fresh, like maybe six months," Melissa Hughes, Gibson County Out of the Darkness Chair said. "After participating in the ceremony, she had told me that it was a relief to speak about her dad and to honor him, but also that there were other people there that dealt with that kind of loss."
A representative of the AFSP Indiana Chapter Board of Directors, as well as several individuals from the Gibson County area that have been personally impacted by suicide loss and mental health, will be speaking during the event.
About 17 teams will be participating in the walk on Sunday and the sponsorship list has grown to 18 organizations, including but not limited to Andrews Chiropractic, Brentwood Springs, Dads Fore Disc Golf, Deaconess Cross Pointe, First Bank, Gibson General Hospital, H&R Block, Ireland Home Based Services, Penske Logistics, WRAY 98.1, Silver Spur Paintball, Southwestern Behavioral Health Services, Sunsational Tans, Watson Insurance and Vincent Entertainment.
Last year, the local walk raised over $9,000 and had over 200 participants. The goal this year for Gibson County is to raise a total of $10,000. All funds raised helps educate people about suicide on a local level, and helps provide research grants at a national level. The ultimate goal of the walk is to reduce the amount of suicides in the United States, and support families who have already been affected.
"Suicide touches one in five American families. We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss," Hughes said. "Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide."
Bond believes that if her daughter could be here today and see how much the walk has grown, she would be in awe.
"I think Dayna would just be awed at just how much her idea has grown," Bond said. "From wanting to do a walk through herself, to having community involvement… and how we're changing people's view on suicide."
Those who are struggling or know someone struggling can reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or by texting TALK to 741741.