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Mom walks dusk to dawn in daughter’s memory

Raising awareness: Susan Wakefield Gibbons will be taking part in the Overnight Walk in Washington DC in memory of her daughter, Jessica, who committed suicide

A mother whose daughter took her own life is preparing to take part in a dusk until dawn walk to raise awareness about suicide.

Susan Wakefield Gibbons will take part in The Overnight Walk in Washington DC on June 17 in memory of her daughter, Jessica Gibbons.

The 25-year-old committed suicide on April 3 last year at her family home in Devonshire.

Mrs Gibbons, who lives in New York, has already raised more than $6,000 for the event that will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“This is obviously in memory of Jessica, but it is also about raising awareness and prevention,” she said.

“The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention does all sorts of work helping families deal with the loss of a loved one but also setting up support groups and raising awareness.

“For anyone who has been affected by suicide, the first year is just about surviving the shame and the guilt that you feel.

“This is a club that I never wanted to be a part of, but if I can help one family or one individual and prevent them going through what we have gone through it will be worth it.”

The Overnight Walk is an annual event that takes place in two cities in the United States to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

The walk is normally between 16 and 18 miles and begins at dusk and goes through to dawn.

“I have been out doing a lot of walking in preparation for the event,” Mrs Gibbons said. “I have found that being outside walking with my camera has really helped me. The support I have received on social media has also been a real lifeline.

“Fundraising has helped me focus on something more than my emotional healing; no one ever thinks that suicide will happen to them.

“Suicide has to come out of the darkness and be spoken about. We need to remove the fear and power away from the word.

“My fundraising has allowed people to reach out to me with some of their experiences with suicide. It has opened a dialogue with people I would never have thought. I have reconnected with many old friends who have been a source of support.”

In 2015, suicide was the tenth leading cause of death and the second leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 10 and 34 in the United States.

People can donate to Mrs Gibbons’ page by going to www.theovernight.org