WEST WENDOVER, Nev. — More than 100 people spent Friday and Saturday walking from Tooele, Utah to West Wendover, Nevada — all in the name of suicide prevention.
The Life's Worth Living Foundation organized the event — the fifth annual "Walk to Wendover," 100 miles long.
The group consisted of 125 walkers who have had their lives touched by suicide, the foundation said.
They met early Friday morning at Tooele City Hall, where they got a pep talk from a guest speaker: Silver medalist and three-time Olympian bobsledder Bill Scuffenhauer.
On the first day, the group walked about 60 miles to the Knolls area before being bussed back to Tooele.
Saturday morning, the walkers got back on the buses and returned to where they left off, arriving in West Wendover later that afternoon.
After the walk, Life's Worth Living President Jon Gossett wrote a Facebook post about the lessons he and others learned during the walk:
"Walking from Tooele to Grantsville, (Mile 1-22) I learned that sometimes life flies by us like the cars on the highway. We may feel inadequate. It's easier if you break it down into small sections. It's okay to slow down and to go at your own pace. I know that my particular path may come with dangers. That is why I put safety precautions in place like the Sheriff vehicles to protect us from those dangers. In the struggle of life it's alright to have a safety plan, and ask for help. It's always wise to have a doctor check you out and make sure you're prepared for your journey.
"From Delle to Knolls, (Mile 23-58) I learned that sometimes we think the path of life should be smooth, but it's not. We all have ups and downs, much like the elevation changes through this stretch of road. None of us are immune. From here you can see the storms coming from miles away, be aware. Sometimes you just have to put your head down, control your thoughts and keep on walking. There are no short cuts on this journey. On this section of road you realize there's no turning back, you might need someone to do a little walking on your path with you, and for you. Every once in a while, we all need to hear words of encouragement. The miles go faster and easier when you connect with people. At the end of the day it's okay to be exhausted and want to give up, but come morning the world will look different and you'll be given the power to do it all over again.
"From Knolls to Wendover (Mile 59-100), I learned that despite the rough roads life hands us (and believe me, some of them are rough), we can share our stories with others. No one has been given a perfect path, we all have our stuff. No one can do this alone. We can accept help, there is no stigma in being worn out and tired. Our bodies may start to feel defeated, but our wounds will heal. It's at this point in time we must rely on others, give help and accept help. Because on this final leg of the journey you'll realize God has placed you among some of the finest "salt of the earth" humans you'll ever meet. Angels have been among us, I have felt them. Your path has really been beautiful all along.
"Arriving at Wendover Will, we learn we can accomplish hard things. We can do what we think we cannot. That there is joy that comes from making it to the finish line. Your eyes are no longer focusing on the problem at hand, but now you are recognizing the miracles in the journey. Standing below Wendover Will, we figure out someone is looking over us, and that he put the exact right people in your path at the exact right time. Be thankful. We can let go of control, and turn it over to him."
The group's organizers hope the walk will help start conversations and end the stigma surrounding suicide.
- For more information on the Life's Worth Living Foundation and its efforts, visit their Facebook page or website.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- If you or someone else is in immediate danger or in an emergency, call 9-1-1 immediately.