Hugs and healing at Philly’s ‘Out of the Darkness’ walk

    On a foggy Sunday morning, thousands of people gathered in front of the Philadelphia Museum of Art to remember loved ones who have committed suicide.

    Emotions ran high as family and friends touched by suicide wore matching T-shirts to represent their loved ones and listened to each others’ stories at the “Out of the Darkness” walk.

    More than 250 friends and family members surrounded Cheryl and Dave Luxton of Flourtown, Pa., who were walking for their son, Cole.

    Cole, 15, and a sophomore at Springfield High School took his life on Oct. 9, 2012.  As the one-year anniversary of Cole’s death approaches, his mother said she appreciated the outpouring of love and support from the community for her son. She said she still can only cope with the grief over his suicide one day at a time.

    In the U.S., suicide is among the 10 leading causes of death according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The Out of the Darkness walk focuses on spreading awareness about suicide prevention and healing for family members and friends who are experiencing grief and loss.

    At the steps of the Art Museum, Becca Taylor, 10, of Pittsburgh held a sign that read “Hugs Here” and handed out homemade blue and white bracelets.

    Becca participated in a similar event in June in Washington, D.C., to remember her cousin, Bob Fadzen.  She saw a woman nearby who was crying and offered to give her a hug.  That first hug soon turned into hundreds and Becca has been supporting people at suicide awareness events since.

    “I’m trying to give people the hugs, that maybe they have never gotten,” said Becca.

    Hundreds of people greeted Becca with a hug and continued the walk for a brief moment with a smile.

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