Hon. Jane Cordy:
Honourable senators, I rise today to speak to you about an event that took place here in Ottawa, a little over a week ago.
May 12, 2018, was the third annual Darkness Into Light event for suicide awareness and prevention. This five-kilometre walk takes place all over the world and in several Canadian locations, including Vancouver, Calgary and Ottawa, just before the dawn breaks.
In Ottawa, participants gathered at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre at 4:45 a.m. for a 5 a.m. departure. People of all ages, and even a few dogs, gathered for a photo around the message “Hope Ottawa” and then set off carrying tea lights and flashlights to light the way before the sun rose over Britannia Park and Beach.
Darkness Into Light symbolizes a journey for those who suffer with depression and mental crisis. By walking together in darkness, with the support of many, eventually it is possible to see the light, and a new day will break.
This year’s Ottawa event saw the participation of just over 170 people. Among them were Irish Ambassador Jim Kelly and Mayor Jim Watson, who spoke at the post-walk gathering where all joined for tea and coffee and to sing “Lean On Me” accompanied on the guitar by singer-songwriter Graeme Weeks.
The walk began and is in support of Pieta House in Dublin, Ireland. Each location picks a local charity to support. In Ottawa, money raised goes in support of the Youth Services Bureau. The Youth Services Bureau is an important organization that offers many services to youth in need. Mental health services are of particular note, and services for those dealing with youth in crisis.
Honourable senators, as Mental Health Week was May 7 to 13, I wanted to highlight this initiative. Should you find yourself in Ottawa for next year’s walk, or you are able to find a walk in your area, I highly encourage you to participate. Thank you.