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Glow Run raises suicide awareness
Annual event set for Sept. 28 at Vets Park
glow run 2018 sharing
Sandy McMullen shares a story of a loved one lost by suicide with those gathered during the Remembrance part of the 2018 Central Kansas Partnership Suicide Prevention Task Force Glow Run. This year’s event is set for Sept. 28.

The topic of suicide is all too close to Mary Waite. 

She lost her 17-year-old nephew, Tom Karlin, who killed himself in 2011. In January, the son of a friend of hers took his own life.

This is why she is a member of the Central Kansas Partnership Suicide Prevention Task Force. It is also why she is spreading the word about the partnership’s 2019 Glow Run set for Saturday, Sept. 28 at Veterans Memorial Park in Great Bend. 

Registration and check in begin at 6:15 p.m., the Remembrance Ceremony happens at 6:30, and the warm-up, walk and run follow at 7:25.

“Please join us for this upcoming event to remember those who have lost their lives to suicide,” Waite said. “Together, we can spread the message that all lives matter and that suicides can be prevented through recognition of signs of depression and seeking help. Our task force’s motto is: ‘Your Life, It Matters.’” 

In the seven years since the task force’s inception, an annual 5K run/walk event has been held to raise awareness and funds for programs, she said. In recent years, this event has been held near sunset and the runners and walkers wear Glow necklaces and bracelets. 

The Glow Run includes the Remembrance Ceremony for all those who have lost their lives to suicide, the run/walk and awards ceremony.

“Luminaries to honor those who have lost their lives through suicide will be a new feature this year,” Waite said. One luminary will be included in the cost of registration for the Glow Run.  

Luminaries may also be purchased for $10 and loved ones can either decorate the bag themselves or have the task force decorate it.  The luminaries will be like the ones used at the Relay for Life events and will line an area at the Glow Run for all to see that night, she said.

What the event means

Grant money and money raised by the Glow Run has been used to train area professionals and school personnel on suicide signs and prevention, as well as to sponsor Luke Maxwell, a suicide survivor, to speak with all area middle school and high school youth as well as the general public, Waite said. The task force has also provided funding for the Yellow Ribbon Campaign in area schools, a performance at Barton Community College, sponsored the movie “Suicide: The Ripple Effect” with free admission at the Golden Belt Cinema 6, and ran radio and print messages

“The Suicide Prevention Task Force was started in January of 2012 by a group of individuals concerned with the high rate of suicides in our community,” said task force member Mary Waite. The group first began meeting at the Barton County Health Department and invited members from The Center for Counseling, as well as individuals from the community, hospitals, churches, schools, law enforcement, and college to come together to devise a plan to better educate people regarding depression and steps to prevent suicide. 

“Eventually, the task force evolved into the Central Kansas Partnership Suicide Prevention Task Force,” she said. The Mission of the group is: “To raise awareness of suicide prevention and to provide for community suicide prevention education.” 

Waite helped form the group and is passionate about spreading the message of signs and symptoms of depression to “prevent others from experiencing the pain of losing a loved one through suicide,” she said. “New members are always welcome.”

Look for more information on-line at either the Center for Counseling or the group’s Facebook page, “Golden Belt Glow for Life.”

Contact the Center at 620-792-2544 for information about suicide survivor support group meeting times.  

Need help? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


Suicide prevention hotline

Need help? Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

glow run 2018 walkers
Walkers start the 2018 Central Kansas Partnership Suicide Prevention Task Force Glow Run. Registration is open for the 2023 event.