A walk to remember

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August 25, 2016 12:00 AM

In recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day the sixth annual Walk of Remembrance will take place at Bud Miller All Seasons Park on Sept. 10 in memory of those lost to the tragic act.
“I think the walk is important for (those affected by suicide) to recognize they’re not alone in this type of loss, and they’ll find other people who are also on the walk and be able to connect with them to establish a relationship with others who’ve experienced a similar losses and the similar feelings,” said Shirley Scott, facilitator of the Walking Through Grief Society and committee member for the event.
“The other significant thing is to be able to come together without feeling shame or stigma and being able to recognize the importance of honouring loved ones and the importance of mental health and mental wellness and how we can all be a part of that.”
The Walk of Remembrance will start at the main picnic shelter at Bud Miller Park with opening remarks from local dignitaries, then walkers will stroll around the lake and return to hear the guest speaker of the day, Mackenzie Murphy.
Murphy, who hails from Airdrie Alta., was crowned Miss Teen Alberta America Beauty this year, and was formerly Miss Teenage Airdrie in 2015.
The young beauty queen has struggled with mental health issues in the past and will touch a bit on her journey, but her speech will mostly be about hope and what people can do to remove some of the shame associated with mental illness.
“She’s experienced bullying as a teenager and the impact of mental health issues, and also the fact that she had a suicidal attempt,” said Scott.
“At this point now she is moving forward and living and I think she’ll give a talk about hope from the mental illness that her life has had and how she’s been able to turn around and give hope to those who have mental illness.”
This year’s theme for world Suicide Prevention Day is “Connect, Communicate, Care,” which Scott said is fitting for the walking event, because it helps people connect in a social setting and communicate with others who are experiencing similar tragedies.
The walk will also bring community members together who want to support those going through that type of grief and show they care through their continued advocacy to governments and at professional levels on how to address mental illness and the stigma of suicide.
“I just really hope people recognize that the Walk of Remembrance is not just for survivors of suicide, but it’s for the community, and it’s not just to talk about suicide, it’s also to talk about mental health, mental wellness and our responsibility as a community to be involved,” Scott said.

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