Mid Ulster stars back 5k dawn walk in support of suicide and self-harm charities

Brian Higgins (Pieta House), Sean Cavanagh, Una Campbell,  Andrea Begley and Patrick McCarney (event sponsor Electric Ireland) launch the Cookstown walk

Brian Higgins (Pieta House), Sean Cavanagh, Una Campbell, Andrea Begley and Patrick McCarney (event sponsor Electric Ireland) launch the Cookstown walk

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Cookstown is to be one of the towns to host a spectacular worldwide event taking place in the coming weeks.

‘Darkness into Light’ is a 5km walk or run which will begin in darkness at 4.15am on Saturday, May 9 from the Burnavon car park, and end as the sun begins to rise.

A Darkness into Light 5k dawn walk is to take place in Cookstown on May 9

A Darkness into Light 5k dawn walk is to take place in Cookstown on May 9

The aim of the event is to raise awareness about suicide and self-harm whilst raising vital funds for The Níamh Louise Foundation and Pieta House, the suicide and self-harm crisis centre based in Dublin and locations throughout Ireland.

Tyrone GAA captain Sean Cavanagh and local singing superstar Andrea Begley, a winner of BBC’s The Voice, were among those at the launch evening last Thursday at Cookstown’s Diamond Dental Clinic, as well as representatives from the two charities and associated sponsors.

Cavanagh said it was a pleasure to get behind such a great cause.

Liam Diamond, of Diamond Dental Clinic and a member of the event’s organising committee, paid thanks to everyone who came along to show their support, while Catherine McBennett of the Niamh Louise Foundation spoke of her excitement at how charities in the north and south are coming together for the worthwhile cause.

“There’s so much Niamh Louise Foundation can do, and I’m hoping Darkness Into Light can help de-stigmatise suicide,” she said.

Tom McEvoy of Pieta House is also relishing the opportunity of coming together with the Tyrone charity.

He added: “I’m so glad to be collaborating with Niamh Louise foundation for ‘Darkness into Light’.

“Today’s launch has really emphasised the similarities of our two organisations, that is solidarity and awareness. I’m hoping the Darkness Into Light Cookstown event will kickstart a fantastic relationship between our organisations”

‘Darkness Into Light’ is now in its seventh year, and last year attracted 80,000 participants in 39 locations across Ireland, as well as London and Sydney.

With the number of locations doubling this year, organisers are expecting over 100,000 people to take part across 80 venues in Ireland, Australia, Canada, England, Scotland and the USA.

Cookstown will be one of only two Northern Ireland venues hosting what is sure to be a breathtaking and poignant experience for all those taking part.

Organiser Una Campbell expressed her delight at the special event making its way to Northern Ireland, and to Cookstown in particular.

“I knew from the outset that Cookstown would open it’s doors to Pieta House, the support has been outstanding,” she explained.

“We’re delighted to have Niamh Louise Foundation on board. They’re so highly thought of in the area for the work they do, and rightly so. Both Pieta House and Niamh Louise share the important common purpose of raising suicide awareness. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone bright and early on May 9!”

There are just under two week’s left to register for the walk, as enrollment closes on May 8.

To take part register online at http://dil.pieta.ie/venues/venue-view/darkness-into-light-cookstown or you can call into Diamond Dental, Cookstown.

Check out Darkness Into Light Cookstown’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/dilcookstown