Beacon of Hope run-walk shines light on sucide prevention

This weekend, the Beacon of Hope run-walk will bring survivors together, and shine a light on the many avenues of help that are available.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WVEC) -- Twenty-two military veterans commit suicide every day in this country. It's a disturbing and sad trend affecting the military and civilians alike.

On Sunday, the Beacon of Hope run-walk brought survivors together, and shined a light on the many avenues of help that are available.

"The pain and the agony never really goes away," said Chico Ciccone, whose 24-year-old Army veteran son, James, took his own life in 2012. "It never goes away. I don't care what anyone says. It never goes away."

Through his organization, End 22, Ciccnne is devoting his life to fighting PTSD and preventing suicide.

"It's the most heart-ripping thing you have to deal with in your entire life," he said. "So, if any kids out there, teenagers, active duty, veterans or anything even have the inclination, there's people that care about you. there's people that love you. But you just have to reach out to us."

That's what the "I need a Lighthouse" 12th annual "Beacon of Hope" 5-K and one mile memory walk is all about: Providing information about resources that are available for people who are in crisis, and, giving fellowship to those who've lost family members.

It is founders Elaine Roberts' and Kathy Wakefield's mission.

"Seemingly out of the clear blue, I lost my almost 22-year-old son to suicide, and it changed my life forever," said Wakefield.

Roberts experienced similar tragedy.

"I lost my daughter 13 years ago," she said. "And Kathy and I were introduced by mutual friends and we decided we wanted to start a walk-run in memory of loved ones lost to suicide and to educate so we can prevent future suicides."

If you are having suicidal thoughts or believe you may need help, call the Veteran's Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, press 1 after calling. 

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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