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JD Foundation’s third annual Walk/Run to Wake the Silence for suicide prevention will be April 28

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DOVER-FOXCROFT — For the third year in a row the Abbot-based JD Foundation invites the community to honor those who have died by suicide and support survivors and families impacted at the organization’s Walk/Run to Wake the Silence. The five kilometer event will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday, April 28, with registration beforehand, at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA on Park Street.

“We have more than doubled our online registration already,” JD Foundation founder Cheryl Morin said last week at her organization’s converted carriage house office next to her Main Road home in Abbot. Morin said the 2017 walk featured 125 participants pre-registering and more signing up that Saturday morning.

“This year we are expecting over 200,” she said. “I’m hoping to double from last year.”

Morin said the 2018 Walk/Run to Wake the Silence will feature about a dozen businesses and nonprofits set up at the PRYMCA property, including massage therapy, crisis intervention, mental health resources, hospitals and natural remedies.

“It is just a good collaboration with other resources this year, which is what we are trying to do,” Morin said.

The 2017 Walk/Run to Wake the Silence raised an estimated $8,500 that day, and all proceeds benefit the work of the JD Foundation, which for more than a decade has been working as an educational tool across Maine in order to bring suicide prevention and bullying rates down through awareness and education.

“Now I am doing a lot of one on one client sessions,” Morin said. “We just did grief support groups with two suicides in the area in the last few months.”

“We are getting more into working with veterans,” she said. “We go visit families that are either struggling or have lost somebody,” she said, mentioning prayer shawls are given to those who have lost loved ones to suicide.

The JD Foundation offers workshops as well as various support groups, either in the community or at the organization’s office. Morin said she does not charge but funding is needed for programs.

“Connecting with Nature is a big thing we do, I have invited families that have lost family members to that. It’s just something to help them heal.” She said other retreats have been held for women and a getaway for veterans is a future possibility.

“We are not a crisis hotline,” Morin said, urging those needing this service to please call the Maine Suicide Prevention Program’s crisis hotline at 1-888-568-1112. “If you think someone is suicidal please get them to call that number and if they have the means please call 9-1-1.

“As always we welcome people who want to train to be trainers and people who want to volunteer,” Morin said.

She thanked the various sponsors of the Walk/Run to Wake the Silence — there are more than 40 — and other JD Foundation events across the calendar. “Without all them and the people who have contributed we couldn’t do what we do,” Morin said.

In addition to the non-timed five kilometer walk/run on April 28, Morin said there will be a mile walk led by her husband Vic, who is the director of the Connecting to Nature program.

Morin said registration will begin at 8 a.m. with an opening ceremony taking place at 8:30 a.m. “Then the walk starts at 9 a.m. with a closing ceremony after,” she said.

She said a paper tree with leaves featuring the names of those who have died by suicide will be at the walk again in 2018, and then returning to inside the frame hung on the wall at the JD Foundation office. Those who choose can have their loved ones’ names read aloud during the closing ceremony. The ceremony will include the dropping of memorial flowers into the stream at Kiwanis Park and Morin said this year the flowers will be white carnations.

“A big hit last year was blowing bubbles and blowing bubbles along the route,” Morin said, saying the release of bubbles is more environmentally friendly than releasing balloons. She said last year participants blew bubbles in the air to the tune of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”

Morin said children looking to participate can do so by raising the $20 equivalency through pledges, and they and others will be able to sign up on Saturday morning.

“I just really want people to know we want to collaborate and our main goal is to help others,” Morin said. “We go anywhere in the state to do workshops, we train people. As always in memory of Joe.”

Morin lost her son William Jody Day — also known as Joe and his initials represent the JD in JD Foundation — to suicide on Nov. 18, 2005. For more information on the JD Foundation, please see the organization on Facebook or go to https://www.thejdfoundation.org/.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
WALKING TO WAKE THE SILENCE — More than 200 participants walked and ran through downtown Dover-Foxcroft in the JD Foundation’s second 2017 Walk/Run to Wake the Silence. This year’s event will be on Saturday, April 28, with registration at 8 a.m. at the Piscataquis Regional YMCA in Dover-Foxcroft. Funds raised support the Abbot-based JD Foundation, which strives to prevent suicides and bullying through education and support.

Observer file photo/Stuart Hedstrom
REMEMBERING THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN LOST — Family and friends of JD Foundation namesake William Jody Day drop flowers into the Kiwanis Park pond stream during the closing ceremony of last year’s Walk/Run to Wake the Silence in Dover-Foxcroft. The JD Foundation will host the third annual event on Saturday, April 28.

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