Pieta participants ready to walk into the light on Saturday

With just under a week to go, record numbers have already signed up for Pieta House’s annual Darkness into Light fundraising event on Saturday, May 11 as the suicide charity gears up for what looks to be the biggest turnout ever.

With just under a week to go, record numbers have already signed up for Pieta House’s annual Darkness into Light fundraising event on Saturday, May 11 as the suicide charity gears up for what looks to be the biggest turnout ever.

Excitement is building as rugby star Brian O’Driscoll, rockers Aslan, actor Stephen Rea and the Dublin football team have all pledged their support in recent weeks. The event is in its fifth year, and taking place simultaneously in 20 locations nationwide.

In Kilkenny, the walk-run-jog event begins at 4am in the morning on Saturday, where participants start in the dark and finish as dawn breaks. The five- kilometre run begins and ends at James Stephens Military Barracks and goes around the city centre.

Pieta House are asking people to bring glow sticks or torches to guide the way at the beginning of the walk. Excitement is building in communities across the country as this year’s turnout looks set to easily top last year’s record number of 15,000 participants.

“The buzz this year is incredible,” said Joan Freeman, founder and CEO of Pieta House, who was in Kilkenny last week.

“I’ve just finished up a whistle stop tour of the country where I helped launch Darkness into Light in each of the 20 locations. It was great to meet all of our organising committees and get a sense of the excitement that’s building in each town.

“We brought our supporters Electric Ireland on the tour with us and they were delighted with the response we got. They even have a huge number of staff coming down to the walk in the Phoenix Park.”

Pieta House recently opened a new crisis centre in Roscrea and will open three more centres this year in counties Cork, Galway, and Kerry. Registration for Darkness into Light is available online now at dil.pieta.ie. Entry costs 25 with reduced rates for groups, families, students, OAPs and jobseekers.