Darkness Into Light, the flagship annual fundraising event for suicideprevention charity Pieta House has been postponed until the autumn due to COVID-19.
Over 250,000 people were expected to come together in the pre-dawn hours of May 9 in almost 20 countries worldwide, but, given the evolving situation in relation to COVID-19 and mass gatherings, the charity has taken the decision to postpone the event until the autumn.
CEO Elaine Austin has reassured the many local organisers and fundraisers that the event, which has such significance for the many Irish people whose lives have been touched by suicide, will go ahead at a later date.
“While the decision to postpone this year’s event was difficult, the safety of local committees, fundraisers and the thousands of people who gather together to participate in Darkness Into Light is our highest priority.
“The event will indeed take place, but at a more appropriate time when the threat of the coronavirus has passed. We are assessing an autumn date and will confirm this as soon as possible.” she said.
The postponement of Darkness Into Light leaves Pieta with a very significant funding gap. Pieta provides free counselling to those who are engaging in self-harm or have suicidal thoughts and provides free bereavement services to those who have been touched by suicide.
The charity relies on the generous support of those who walk each year at Darkness Into Light in order to provide this important national mental health service free of charge, and the event also supports 17 like-minded charities in Northern Ireland.
“The need for public support for Pieta is greater than ever” added Austin, “especially now when so many people are feeling stressed and anxious during this time of crisis. I am appealing to all those who had planned to walk with us on May 9th to donate at Pieta.ie so that our vital services can continue.
“It is important at this time that people do not feel alone. Furthermore, I am asking the wider public to think of those who need our support and to visit Pieta.ie to donate. We rely on the support of the public for 80% of our funding and we need their help more than ever.” she added.
Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, expressed her solidarity with the Pieta cause and echoed Elaine Austin’s comments; “Electric Ireland has been a long-term partner of Pieta and a supporter of the vital services that they provide.
“We know that it has been a difficult decision to postpone this year’s event, but also believe that it is the only prudent and safe course of action based on the current Coronavirus situation.
“This postponement will have a huge impact on Pieta’s ability to raise vital funds and provide ongoing counselling. Ironically, demand for Pieta’s services may increase over coming weeks as people come to terms with the impact of the pandemic.
“In Electric Ireland, we are working hard with Pieta to keep the organisation viable and we would therefore also urge our customers and the wider public to please register for the Darkness Into Light walk later in the year, or to donate directly at Pieta.ie.” she explained.
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