“Darkness Into Light” https://.darknessintolight.ie is a 5Km walk in aid of Pieta in Ireland, a charity that provides free-of-charge, accessible one-to-one counselling to people suffering from suicidal ideas, engaging in self-harm or to those bereaved by suicide.

Since Pieta, formerly known as Pieta House, was established in 2006 it has helped over 58,000 people. Pieta is currently operating 15 centres and 5 outreach services across Ireland, employing over 200 therapists and administration staff.

The fundraiser walk “Darkness Into Light” started back in 2009 , in the Phoenix Park in Dublin. From its small beginnings with about 400 people, it continued to grow year after year with around 200,000 people now taking part in the event nowadays.

I came across the unofficial version of this walk here in Lanzarote in 2018 and I loved the idea: the walk starts in the small hours of the chosen day when it’s still dark and people walk together in the dark towards the sunrise, symbolizing hope.

I talked to Olivia Bradley, the organiser of the Lanzarote unofficial “Darkness Into Light” walk, to find out a bit more about it:

Where are you from originally, Olivia?
I’m originally from Donegal, in Ireland, and I have been living in Lanzarote for the last 4 years.

What brought you to Lanzarote?
Myself and my husband own a business here – Sally-Joan’s Irish Bar https://facebook.com/SallyJoansirishBarlanzarote on The Avenida in Puerto del Carmen. We always wanted to move to the Sun and are very grateful that we got the opportunity to do so.

Why did you start “Darkness Into Light” in Lanzarote?
This is for a very important cause and because I’ve done this walk at home in Ireland. I didn’t want to stop just because I moved here. I was also very aware that a lot of tourists would be here that also would have wanted to do the walk so this was giving them the chance to still be able to do it. Our Mental Health is so important, now more than ever. We need to also know here, on our little island, that there is support there if needed even if it is just from each other. This is something that is very close to my heart.

Why is the Lanzarote walk “unofficial”? What does that mean?
It’s mainly because, despite taking place on the same day as the walk in Ireland, we are not actually collecting money on the day. It is up to people to make their own donations online: http://darknessintolight.ie/donate.

I see, thanks for clarifying that. How many years have you done it in Lanzarote so far?
This is the 4th year, however last year it was cancelled as it was on while we were in strict lockdown here in Lanzarote.

The 1st year, in 2018, there was about 12 of us. Then the 2nd year, in 2019, there was around 30 of us so we are hoping to build it up each year and continue to keep it growing.

I hope so! How long is the walk & how long does it normally take to do it?
The walk, which is typically done on a Saturday in May, is 5km long and it takes around an hour to complete. However, everyone does it at their own pace so if it is done quicker or takes longer than an hour, that is ok.

Do people need to confirm attendance?
I will put a message on the Facebook group “Darkness into Light Lanzarote 2021” https://facebook.com/groups/1792870477480781 in the week leading up to the walk and ask for everyone to send a message if they are hoping to join us, if it’s possible. But it is not required and everyone is more than welcome to just join in on the morning.

Thank you, Olivia, for telling us a bit more about it. See you there!

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The meeting and departure point for “Darkness Into Light 2021” in Lanzarote is the San Antonio Hotel in Puerto del Carmen at 6:30am on the 8th of May, starting slightly later than usual due to the current curfew. The walk will then proceed towards Matagorda and then back. Needless to say that distance between people and the current safety measures will need to be observed. Finally, people are encouraged to wear yellow but it’s not mandatory. Hope to see some familiar faces & new ones too!

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Pieta’s 24/7 Crisis Free Helpline (Ireland only) can be reached by calling 1800 247 247 or text HELP 51444.