Sporting A Cause

Tag Archives: AFSP

Out of the Darkness

I can’t believe it’s been six years – it was September of  2015 when Joey Sherwood took his life, and an entire town wept.

Ever since, Joey’s widow Joy has been taking part in the  Out of the Darkness Community Walk, an annual event sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). The Walk allows Joy to honor her husband and connect with other survivors who share her particular brand of pain.

The Walk is also a fundraiser, and although it doesn’t take place until September 26th, participants like Joy have already been busy raising money to help AFSP continue their important work.

Like last year, Joy is the leading fundraiser for the Dutchess/Ulster Walk, but she needs your help to reach her goal. The AFSP has a goal too- to reduce suicides by 20% by 2025 (nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from suicide).

To help Joy and to honor Joey’s memory please consider a contribution by following this link:

The AFSP teaches grade schoolers about mental health, continues research into what causes people to attempt suicide, and educates the general population about what behaviors to look for and how to get help for someone who exhibits those warning signs.

To get more information about the Dutchess/Ulster Out of the Darkness Walk visit:…-against-suicide/

For the Berkshire County Out of the Darkness Walk go to :…-prevent-suicide/

For the Columbia-Greene Out of the Darkness Walk go to:…-against-suicide/

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US.

To learn more about AFSP’s good work visit


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The Color of Loss

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, and there are upcoming Out of the Darkness Walks to Prevent Suicide sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Last year I attended one of their events, and this is what I found.


Most of the people wore strands of brightly colored beads around their necks. There were white ones and red and gold and orange and silver and green and blue and teal. Each color held specific meaning.

All of these people, nearly 500 of them, had gathered to celebrate the lives of loved ones lost to suicide, and the beads represented the nature of the their loss. White designated the loss of a child, red meant the loss of a spouse, gold a parent , orange a sibling and so on. The beads color-coded their pain.

This  was the  Out of The Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide, one of 400  held nationwide  by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to support survivors of suicide and work to end it.

The Walk was billed as a celebration of the lives of those who are gone by those who remain. One of the speakers addressed the seeming conflict of joy amid such pain.

“How can we feel such profound gratitude and such profound sadness at the same time?” she asked. Everyone there seemed to know. There were tears, as people stood at the microphone and explained their color “I am wearing orange because I lost my brother- my best friend”.

“I wear silver today because I lost military- a couple of them”.

“I’m wearing white because I lost my twin sons” -both of them.

Bertha, one of the event organizers, wore nearly every color- father, child and other loved ones- all lost . And she wore green to represent her own struggles with suicide.

Yes there were tears but also smiles and hugs and laughter and camaraderie. And that of course was the answer to the question- that amid that profound sadness, they could  feel gratitude because they all had the support of each other- they all understood.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States at the rate of 129 people a day.

There will be an Out of the Darkness Walk to Prevent Suicide on Sept. 29th  on the Walkway Over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie and one on October 5th at The Common in Pittsfield, MA.

Find details at

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