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18th ‘Whitney’s Walk for Life’ raises awareness and funds for suicide prevention

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BRIMFIELD (WEEK) -- The 18th annual Whitney's Walk for Life took place Saturday morning to help raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention in central Illinois.

Despite the rainy weather, dozens showed up to Jubilee College State Park to participate in a 5K walk or run organized by UnityPoint Health's Hult Center for Healthy Living.

The fundraiser was founded by friends and family of Whitney Grotts, who took her own life in 2004.

All the proceeds from Saturday morning's 5K support local depression awareness programs, and in its 18 years, Whitney's Walk for Life has raised more than $1.6 million.

Organizers said it is an important way to keep her memory alive and support those who struggle with their mental health.

"We are trying to teach the whole world - it's nothing to be embarrassed about. Mental health is a disease like cardiac - a disease like cancer. It needs to be treated. You could be fixed," Whitney's uncle, Danny Fishel, said.

"In this post-COVID era, mental health has been tagged as a very significant matter across the country. We would like to break that stigma for suicide and teach others how to be aware," said Andrea Parker, executive director of the Hult Center for Healthy Living.

This year, organizers also offered people the opportunity to participate in the event virtually.

For more information on suicide prevention programs in central Illinois, visit this link.

Harry Croton

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