Walk creates awareness, support

Published 11:51 am Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Between 30-40 Charlotte County residents and students at Longwood University took part in a walk Saturday to remember those lost to suicide, and to provide support to loved ones affected by suicide and those struggling with suicidal thoughts.

The third annual Warr;or Walk was held Saturday.

Members of Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Mu Delta from Longwood University take part in the Warr;or Walk held at the Charlotte County Administration Building Saturday.
Pictured are, front row from left, Bri Bissell and Hannah Adams; back row, Karen O’Brien, Brittany Berger, Kaylena Crabtree, Mallory Gallagher, Jordan Elder,
Alicia Griffith, Frank Hale, Ben Lambert and Tommy Riddler.

Participants met outside the Charlotte County Administration Office at 250 LeGrande Ave. in Charlotte Court House, bundling up to brace themselves against the chilly weather. They walked around the block, holding a banner with the Warr;or Walk logo.

After participants met back at the administration building, they took part in a candlelight vigil and read more than 30 names of those who died by suicide.

Walk organizer Bridgette Malsbury said there were 14 names read last year.

Malsbury described suicide as a silent killer in the United States and in Charlotte County. The walk is designed to create an environment where people can speak openly about mental illness struggles and provide resources about mental illness, a major cause of suicide and suicidal thoughts. She said no one, regardless of class or race, is immune to mental illness.

Malsbury said the funds raised from the walks have gone to support three different families. She said for many, the suicides are unexpected, and she said the funds have helped the families pay for funeral costs and other expenses.

Hannah Adams, a member of Alpha Phi Omega at Longwood University, said she and other members of Alpha Phi Omega and Phi Mu Delta attended the walk Saturday as a way to support the community and end a week where students have learned about suicide prevention and have also been taking action on campus to lift other students’ spirits.

“We’re really happy to be here,” Adams said about the walk.

Malsbury said in a previous Gazette interview that the semicolon in the event’s name is meant to be a symbol reminding people that their stories are not over, “whether it’s being carried on by those left in the aftermath of a loved one lost by suicide or someone who has been struggling with suicidal ideation or suicide attempts that they are still here to carry on their own story.”

For those interested in supporting Warr;or Walk or learning more about the organization’s effort, contact Malsbury at bfmalsbury@gmail.com or organizer Anne Reynolds at Awreynolds1974@ gmail.com.