An overnight walk this Friday night at Cornell’s Barton Hall will raise awareness about suicide prevention, and raise money for the Sophie Fund, which supports mental health initiatives in the Ithaca community.
The walk, to benefit suicide prevention initiatives in Ithaca and beyond, is being hosted by brothers of Cornell’s Beta Nu chapter of Phi Sigma Pi Fraternity. They invite Cornell-affiliated organizations to form teams, and say independent individual walkers and teams are welcome, as well.
Proceeds will go to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and to the Sophie Fund, a local organization founded in memory of Sophie Hack MacLeod, a 23-year-old who “succumbed to her battle with depression” on Easter weekend in 2016 while on medical leave from Cornell. Sophie had become a popular fixture running the dessert counter at Madeline’s Restaurant and crafting new cocktails at Argos Inn. She hoped to open her own bakery after completing her Cornell degree.
Just last week, community stakeholders representing 18 organizations declared suicide a “serious public health concern” and pledged to intensify suicide prevention efforts in Ithaca and Tompkins County at a gathering at The Watershed in Ithaca’s west end. According to the Sophie Fund, Garra Lloyd-Lester, associate director of the Suicide Prevention Center New York, announced plans to convene a “key stakeholders” meeting in June with the aim of establishing a suicide prevention coalition in Tompkins County.
Sharon MacDougall, Deputy Commissioner of Mental Health Services in Tompkins County, welcomed the state’s initiative, they announced. “Suicide prevention efforts in Tompkins County are strong and need collaboration among all our agencies, providers, and groups like The Sophie Fund,” she said. “A Suicide Prevention Coalition will help bring these efforts together in close collaboration — providing a unified and passionate Tompkins County voice advocating zero suicides in our county.”
Pre-registration is required for those who’d like to participate in the walk, with a $5 registration fee. Donations may be made at the same link for those who aren’t walking. The walk itself runs from 8pm Friday, April 28th to 6am Saturday.