The finish line is just the beginning

One million kilometres walked in the march against suicide

13 May 2018

On Saturday, May 12th Pieta House and sponsorship partner Electric Ireland marked the tenth anniversary of Darkness Into Light, a global movement and fundraising event with over 200,000 participants across fifteen countries who woke up and walked from Darkness Into Light to raise vital funds for suicide prevention, suicide bereavement and self-harm in Ireland. 

From humble beginnings in 2009 with 400 walkers in Dublin's Phoenix Park, Pieta House's flagship fundraising event, Darkness Into Light, has grown from strength to strength.   This year the first walk took place in New Zealand as the Irish team were setting up for the 180 locations in Ireland. From there it moved to Australia, on to the US, the United Emirates, across Europe with Belgium, Spain and Germany, before finally crossing the Atlantic after Ireland and the UK, with the last event being on the west coast in Vancouver, Canada.

To mark the 10th anniversary, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar set off on the walk with 15,000 others in Phoenix Park. An Taoiseach said, "The message of hope is one that is extremely important to me and I’m honoured to be taking part in Darkness Into Light this year with Pieta House and Electric Ireland. By the end of today, 1 million kilometres across the globe will have been walked in the march against suicide”.

Niall Dineen, Head of Commercial, Electric Ireland, said, "Electric Ireland has been incredibly proud to partner with Pieta House since 2013 during which time Darkness Into Light has become much more than just a fundraiser; it is now an international movement in the fight against suicide offering hope, community and solidarity to people impacted by suicide and self-harm.’’

Brian Higgins, the CEO of Pieta House, said, "I can't thank the volunteers, supporters, participants and our sponsors Electric Ireland enough. Each year, I'm blown away by the support and compassion shown around the world on this very special day. We must not get complacent however, and I urge our walkers and the Irish public to remember that the finish line is only the beginning of our journey. We need to replace suicidal thoughts and self-harm with hope and understanding and practice hope and empathy every day."

Electric Ireland has sponsored Darkness into Light for the past six years. To celebrate all those who make the event a success, from participants to volunteers and fundraisers; an inspiring video has been produced which includes impactful scenes from the event to serve as a reminder that the finish line is just the beginning in the fight against suicide. 
Watch Electric Ireland's 'Thank You' video here:

ENDS

NOTES TO THE EDITOR
About Electric Ireland
Electric Ireland is the retail arm of ESB, supplying electricity, gas and energy services to the business and residential markets in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Recognised as Ireland’s leading energy provider, their ambition is to always offer the most relevant, affordable and innovative energy solutions. They call this ’Smarter Living’ - a way of understanding and answering customer needs so they can use energy with more control and in sustainable ways. ‘Smarter Living’ also defines Electric Ireland’s approach to supporting community initiatives and sponsorships. As Ireland’s most trusted energy provider, Electric Ireland is committed to offering exceptional customer care and the best long-term value on the Irish market.

About Pieta House

Pieta House was founded in Lucan, Co Dublin, in 2006 and now has services and centres right across Ireland. Pieta offers free counselling to those suffering from suicidal ideation, those who have been bereaved by suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm. Staff are fully qualified and provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service. Pieta House also operates the free 24-hour suicide helpline 1800 247 247. For more information, visit www.pieta.ie

Pieta House Key Facts 

  • Pieta House has supported over 36,000 clients since its inception.
  • In 2017, Pieta House supported 7,117 clients.
  • The Pieta House service is free, confidential and has an open referral mechanism.
  • It costs approximately €1,000 for Pieta House to provide a client with a full suite of therapy.
  • 180,000 people took part in Darkness Into Light in 2017. The combined distance they walked could circle the world 22 times.
  • On average, there are 8 suicides per week in Ireland

Electric Ireland and Darkness Into Light
ESB has supported Pieta House through its Corporate Social Responsibility fund since Pieta House first opened its doors in 2006.  Now proudly supporting Darkness Into Light for six years, Electric Ireland was internationally recognised for excellence at the European Sponsorship Awards (ESA) this year for the Darkness into Light partnership winning the prestigious overall European Sponsorship of the Year 2017 – the first time a charity sponsorship has won the best overall sponsorship in Europe award. The ESA Excellence Awards showcase the best in class campaigns across Europe and cover the entire spectrum of sponsorship disciplines.