PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Despite the rain Saturday morning, community members showed up for the 18th annual Whitney’s Walk for Life.
Altogether, over $90,000 was raised for the Hult Center for Healthy Living and its suicide prevention efforts.
At 8 a.m. about 200 people took off on the 5k route at Jubilee College State Park. Several walkers said they were there on behalf of a loved one who died by suicide.
One walker, Chuck Roper, said he lost his daughter to suicide in 2010. He said he comes back to Peoria each year for the walk, and it brings his family together too.
“It brings the community together, you know, to help everyone know that they’re not alone. And it’s okay to not be okay,” Roper said.
All the money raised for the Hult Center stays in the community, according to event organizers.
To help get the word out about the event, organizers chose Derrick Booth and Jehan Gordon-Booth to be this year’s co-chairs.
“Mental health sometimes can be so stigmatized,” Derrick Booth said. “Events like this help normalize that no one is exempt from having mental health episodes or having mental health challenges. But there are places to go to talk, there are individuals and resources available for anyone to utilize. That doesn’t mean there’s something wrong. It’s okay to be not okay.”
Donations for Whitney’s Walk for Life are accepted all year long. Leaders at the Hult Center for Healthy Living say they are about $30,000 short of their $125,000 goal. To make a donation, click here.