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Walk for Life, Suicide Prevention in Nome

Walk for Life banner in Anvil Square in Nome May 10, 2014.

Across the state, Alaska is celebrating suicide prevention month, and communities are coming together to raise awareness through Walks for Life. In Nome on Saturday, dozens gathered in Anvil Square to begin their walk.

Bridie Trainor is the Kawerak Wellness Director and organized the event.

Trainor explained, “This is a walk that happens across the state to bring to light issues like suicide, domestic violence, sexual abuse, and addiction.”

Trainor says holding a walk brings people together as a sign of community strength and fellowship. It also breaks the silence around issues like suicide.

“Overall people need to know that it’s safe,” Trainor said, “and there’s support in the community and there’re resources you can turn to, and that there is a possibility of making a difference and changing things.”

This was Nome sixth Walk for Life. Under gray clouds bubbles, painted banners, balloons, and music paraded through the streets.

Onlookers stepped out of buildings as the crowd passed by. And to each person who came out, Trainor ran up and handed a brightly colored paper flower.

One hundred flowers are made every year by residents of Seaside, Nome’s halfway house.

“Our strengths really come from our celebration, appreciation of life,” Trainor said. “And so that’s why it’s important to see people come together and be willing to look at these things that are sad for us to deal with but through a lens of strength and appreciation for what we have and for what our community has to offer.”

Walks for Life are occurring around the state this month including regional walks in Gambell, Teller, Wales, and White Mountain.