Melissa Stagnaro

I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately. Not surprising, really, since I’m trying to get ready for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s Out of the Darkness Overnight. It’s hard to believe that in just 11 short days I’ll be walking 18 miles in New York City to raise awareness for depression and help prevent suicide.

For the last couple of months, I’ve been racking up the miles. My typical walks ranged from 4 to 8 miles with a couple of longer walks – 10 to 11 miles – thrown in. But I’ve been a little nervous that even with the 30 plus miles a week I was walking, I wouldn’t be ready for the big day. Or big night, as the case may be. (We’ll be walking from 7 p.m. ‘til 5 a.m.)

I never thought I’d say this but, I think I’m ready.

On Saturday, I completed my longest training walk to date – a whopping 14 miles! I was a little sore and completely exhausted when I was done, but I was pretty proud of myself. Especially since I did it without any breaks, and on terrain which is a fair bit hillier than what I’ll have to contend with in NYC.

Our route will be a pretty interesting one. We’ll start in Brooklyn at Cadman Plaza and make our way through Brooklyn Heights to the Brooklyn Promenade and over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan. From there, we’ll troupe through the Financial District to the island’s west side, where we’ll head up the Hudson River Park Greenway. We’ll turn East when we hit Midtown, then wind our way back downtown through Union Square, SoHo, the Lower East Side and China Town before trekking back over the Brooklyn Bridge in the wee hours of the morn.

Pretty cool, right?

There will be plenty of pit stops and a meal break to make sure we stay fueled and hydrated for our journey. And did I mention there will be cheering stations? If you’re going to be in NYC the night of June 4, come cheer us on!  Locations are listed on the Overnight website. It is going to be an emotional night, as we walk to prevent suicide and in memory of friends and loved ones we have lost by their own hand. We can use all the support we can get.

And speaking of support, it’s not too late to donate to Team Chenango. Several of our team members are still working to reach their $1,000 individual goals. You can donate by visiting www.theovernight.org.

Thank you once more to everyone who has been so supportive of our efforts to raise money and awareness for this cause. Together, we’ll see what a difference a night makes.

Follow me on Twitter … @evesunmelissa.