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 Natural Awakenings Lancaster-Berks

Join the Walk for Suicide Awareness on September 9

Jul 28, 2017 10:07AM

On September 9, Walk for D.E.S. will be held at Manheim Township Park, in Neffsville. The name is an acronym that means Detect Early Signs, and the walk is intended to honor the life of someone who died by suicide, show support to survivors of suicide, forward the cause of suicide awareness and prevention across Lancaster County and provide resources and tools aimed at preventing suicide. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m, and the walk/run starts at 11 a.m. The event includes a rafflesilent auction and survivors’ memorial tribute. 


On June 6, 2011, Mark and Debbie Schantzer lost their 21-year-old son, Desmond, to suicide. There were no signs, no warnings and no answers. Nothing prepared them for this tragedy. Desmonds death rocked the very core of their familyexistence, and the pain they have known is beyond comprehension.  


They have found that sitting in grief is debilitating, but working through grief is healing. For this reason, Mark, Debbie and their daughter, Danielle, joined with community partners to create the D.E.S. Foundation, a nonprofit organization created to raise awareness of, and prevent, suicide. 


The goal of Walk for D.E.S. is to raise much needed funding to support the work of dedicated partners that are committed to raising awareness about suicide, working to prevent these tragedies and providing grief counseling and support when heartbreak occurs. The foundation is working to fund activities supporting community-wide suicide awareness and prevention activities and to provide monetary support for individuals and families impacted by suicide. 


Partnering organizations dedicated to the Walk for D.E.S., and also working to advance suicide awareness and prevention across Lancaster County, include: Pathways Center for Grief & Loss (Hospice and Community Care), Lancaster Regional Hospital, Lancaster General Hospital, Lancaster Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Survivors of Suicide (Lancaster Chapter), One Less Thing Foundation, PerformCare, Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition and Mental Health America. 


Every 12.8 minutes someone in the U.S. dies by suicide.Nearly 1 million people make a suicide attempt every year.In Lancaster County, approximately 50 individuals take their lives by suicide each year,” notes Mark. Beyond the numbers, the ripple effect of suicide is staggering when viewed in the context of pain, loss and suffering for those who are left behind. 


Community members are invited to become sponsors, walkers, or to make a donation. “Help us lift the stigma that surrounds suicide and mental illness,” requests Debbie. Help us save lives and restore hope through awareness, prevention and intervention. 


Location: Manheim Township Park, 209 Petersburg Rd., Neffsville. For more information, call 717-207-9634 or visit 

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