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Walkers bring difficult topic out of dark

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Life Red Wing, 55066
Republican Eagle
651-388-3404 customer support
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

HAGER CITY — Dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide doesn't get any easier, Tisha Krig said.

Another year has passed since Krig's brother took his life in early 2011, and she is as committed as ever to providing support for others who've had a similar experience, as well as promoting awareness of these ever-increasing tragedies.

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One way is through the second Out of the Darkness walk next month.

"Last year, we raised nearly $20,000," Krig said, adding approximately 200 people walked in the event.

The walk, promoted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, will take place Saturday Sept. 7 in Red Wing's Colvill Park. Check-in begins at 8 a.m., with the walk starting at 9 a.m.

The public is encouraged to attend even if not planning to walk, as a show of support from spectators also is important, Krig said.

Krig, whose second cousin also committed suicide, said her family will join her on the walk, including her husband, Darin, and 2-month-old daughter Andrah, plus a sister and her sister's children.

Shirts have been made for their team and are suggested for other groups as a means of memorializing those lost.

Stakes similar to those used for signs by political candidates will be available, she said, with an invitation extended to attendees to bring photos and display them. A balloon release as a memorial also is planned.

Children will have an opportunity to make bracelets featuring beadwork bearing the names of lost loved ones. There will be music and refreshments as well.

Krig estimated the walking route will be around three miles in length.

According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for Americans in 2010. That year, someone in the nation died by suicide every 13.7 minutes.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers and young adults, but people 45 to 64 years old have the highest suicide rate of any age group in the U.S.

Traditionally the suicide rate has been about four times higher among men than women, as well. Of those who died by suicide in 2010, 78.9 percent were male.

The goal of AFSP is to reduce the number of suicides through research and education, according to the organization's website.

People participating in the Sept. 7 walk have a couple of options to raise funds for the AFSP cause, Krig said.

Once signed up, walkers can post their effort through social media. Otherwise they can distribute forms seeking donations to be submitted the day of the walk or applied to an account for them.

The money raised will go toward research and education, Krig said, adding that she was pleased to know more than 82 cents of each dollar directly heads to AFSP's programs.

Everyone is welcome to continue fundraising until the end of the year by going online, she said

Donations can be submitted at www.afsp.org.

The website also can be used to register for the walk in advance, form a team, join an existing team or walk as a single.

For more information, contact tishasiepelmeyer@yahoo.com.

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Bill Kirk
Bill Kirk has been editor at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, Wisconsin, since 1988. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.
(715) 273-4334
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