As many of you probably know, suicide prevention is a cause that is very near and dear to my heart. When I was 8-years-old, I lost my father to suicide. It's actually fitting that I'm writing this blog today, because August 19th was his birthday. You can read more about my family's story HERE. Unfortunately, I am just one of an overwhelming number of people who have been affected by suicide in one way or another. That's why events like the Cedar Rapids HOPEwalk are so important.

According to the official Facebook event, "The HOPEwalk is a local community-based walk to remember loved ones lost to suicide, support survivors, raise awareness, and work on prevention in the Cedar Rapids area community."  It was announced earlier this month that the 6th Annual Cedar Rapids HOPEwalk will be held at Cherry Hill Park on Saturday, September 21st. Registration will begin at 8 a.m., with the official presentation at 9:30 a.m.

I attended the event for the first time last year, and it's incredibly overwhelming to see so many people of all ages who have similar experiences to your own. Each walker is given a free bracelet for the walk, with each color based on your relation to the person that you lost. You can also sign or leave a photo on the memory wall, as well as add the person's name to the roll call. Counselors will also be on hand for anyone who needs to talk.

If you'd like to participate in the walk, you can walk individually or join a team. Get registered online and/or make a donation HERE.