Do Not Lose Hope’s 2022 Remembrance Walk has inspiring turnout

Published 11:07 am Monday, October 17, 2022

On Saturday, from 4 to 7 p.m., the 2022 Fall Family Festival and 8th Annual Remembrance Walk took place at Harmon Field. The Remembrance Walk is dedicated to helping end the silence and stigma of mental illness while shining hope on those who suffer.


The Remembrance Walk started around 6 p.m. and ended with a dove release in recognition of loved ones. The walk and festival were both well-attended, with most everyone decked out in purple to show support for Do Not Lose Hope, the group that spearheaded the event. The group is also responsible for the sunflowers that were on display during September, National Suicide Prevention month, at Stearns Park in Columbus. The flowers symbolize the number of suicides committed daily in the United States. 

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Do Not Lose Hope came about when Mary Prioleau sent a Facebook message to Tamara Black about working to end the stigma around mental illness. The two women share a bond built around a love for lost family members, and this has helped create a new family dedicated to helping the community. Anne Day describes the event, saying, “it’s a chance for all of us to get together, share stories about our loved ones and spend time together.”


Tamara Black says, “the event is one that we want to inspire hope, by providing needed resources in our community and for the young people. That is why the organization is named ‘Do not Lose Hope.’”


“We want to create a mandate for young people to feel comfortable when talking about mental health,” Mary Prioleau adds. “And make sure people out there do not lose hope because there are people out there that care and want to help.”


The Polk County Community Foundation Ann Jacob Toms Fund, St. Luke’s Hospital, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, and the Polk Health and Wellness Coalition sponsored the free family event. There was also free food provided by Buck’s Pizza, Wolverine Pizza, The Brick, and Sidestreet Pizza. The volunteers handed out thousands of t-shirts, plus there was music, games, and activities for kids. 


Numerous local service organizations were there looking to help Polk County families. You can find more details on Facebook on the “Do Not Lose Hope” page. For the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, dial 988.