From 400 people at the first Darkness Into Light in 2009 to 180,000 people last year, DIL has become a major event across Ireland and all over the world.
The event will take place at more than 20 locations across Cork, with thousands of people expected to turn out across the Rebel County.
“A lot of work goes into organising these events and we’re looking forward to seeing thousands of people take part across Cork on Saturday,” said Independent Councillor Mick Finn, who is on the organising committee for both the UCC and Ballyvolane walk.
“UCC is the second biggest event in Ireland, behind Darkness into Light in Phoenix Park, and we regularly have 5,000 people in attendance. We’ll have the guts of more than 100 volunteers at both the UCC and Ballyvolane walks alone,” he added.
“We’ve had great support from volunteers and businesses across Cork and UCC have been great to work with.” Pieta House has grown to almost 270 therapists and administration staff, and the demand for their service has grown with it.
In 2016 alone, almost 6,000 people passed through their doors suffering from suicidal ideation and/or engaging in self-harm, or to avail of suicide bereavement counselling.
The charity relies on fundraising events to ensure their services can keep providing, Darkness Into Light being their flagship event.
“This is the biggest event in Pieta’s fundraising schedule and is crucial to ensuring that they can keep providing these important services free of charge, to families and individuals across Cork and Ireland,” said Cllr Finn.
“There’s a huge demand for their services and there are even waiting lists now so these events are hugely important.”
Darkness Into Light walks will get underway at 4.15am in Ballincollig, Ballyvolane, Bandon, Bantry, Blarney, Carrigaline, Castletownbere, Clonakilty, Cobh, Dunmanway, Fermoy, Glanmire, Inchigeelagh, Kanturk, Kinsale, Mallow, Midleton, Mitchelstown, Skibbereen, UCC and Youghal.