In connection with National Suicide Prevention Week, September 8-14, the "Waukegan Cares Walk for Awareness" event will take place on Saturday, Sept. 21, along Sheridan Road in Waukegan. The event is designed to support efforts to prevent suicide on a local level. The 5K walk registration will take place at 203 N. Genesee Street behind the Genesee Theater in downtown Waukegan between 11:15 a.m. and noon. The step off is any time after registration.
The registration fee for the 5K fundraiser is $25, which includes an event t-shirt and one free raffle ticket. To ensure that you receive a t-shirt, register by September 16. Registrations will be accepted up to the time of the walk. All proceeds from the walk will go toward furthering the efforts of the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force. For more information, or to sign up for the walk, contact Tom Granger at: Walkforsuicideawareness2013@yahoo.com.
In conjunction with the walk, a free family festival with music, local food vendors and kids' games will be held from noon until 5 p.m. Vendors include Greentown Bar and Grill and Jerry's Tacos. There will be a dunk tank featuring Mayor Motley from 1 to 2 p.m. Kids' activities will include a bounce house, a fire truck on display, games planned by the People's Choice Fun Center, a character painter, and police K9 demonstrations. Other festival participants include the Center for Wellness in Mundelein, Esperanza Project of Most Blessed Trinity Parrish, Gregory Auto Outlet of Gurnee, Secondhand Snoots, Waukegan Animals Getting Saved, Teen Challenge Faith Based Addiction Treatment, Blue Fine Art, Respiratory Health Association and Chiro One Wellness Center. Participants may also want to join the Waukegan Art Walk, which will begin as the festival ends.
Information booths will be available from the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force, Lake County Adolescent Trauma, Catholic Charities Veterans Program, Lake County State's Attorney's Office, the Waukegan Public Library, the Center for Wellness of Mundelein, Outpost Cross Fit Training, Arden Shore, Vista Health and One Hope United.
The walk is sponsored by the Waukegan Cares Foundation, the City of Waukegan and the Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force of which the Lake County Health Department is a member. Funding for the festival was provided by Vista Health, The Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Zion, NorStates Bank, Coral Chemical, the Waukegan Police Association, Waukegan Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5, Gregory Auto Outlet of Gurnee and 8th Ward Alderman Bill Valko.
Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting, harmful effects not only on individuals attempting suicide, but also their families, and communities. In the past five years, the annual number of suicides in Lake County has ranged from 61 to 70 per year. The Lake County Suicide Prevention Task Force strives to deepen awareness, prevent suicide and save lives through education, linkage to resources and treatment within the community. For more information, call: (847) 377-8180.