Raela, Dream Team wrap-up

July 24, 2006

heartDear family, friends, and supporters of the DREAM Team –

Well, we made it through the night and watched a glorious sunrise, symbolizing a new day of hope after a night of sharing tears, pain, strength, and courage with over 1100 others.

We started out at the base of the Golden Gate bridge, the site of over 1000 reported suicides since it was built. After an emotional opening ceremony, we began our walk at sunset
through the Presidio, and onto the streets of San Francisco. The view was
spectacular all along the walk and we were even amused by the drunks as we
walked by some bars on a Saturday night.

There were several reflective moments as we all thought about why we were here. I could picture my brother’s smile as he walked right beside us up and down the hills, through
several parks, and along the marina. We even had a spectacular view of Alcatraz!

We did not feel weary until about mile 16 at 4am as we started to trek up the last incline of the route. Once we reached the last pit stop, the lighted luminary was around the corner and we were at the last stretch.

A flood of tears overwhelmed us as we walked this lighted path, remembering those who would have stayed if they could, and feeling the silence they kept for so long. We also felt a sense of joy for the luminaries lit in honor of those who decided to stay, adding to the light for the path of healing for all.

In the middle of the path, I turned around to see a sliver of the moon just over the horizen next to the North Star just before the sunrise – God was speaking to us.

At the end, I sat and watched a woman fall to her knees as she was obviously stricken with new grief – I recalled when the pain was fresh for me and my family, and I felt a sense of strength to realize how far I have come. We walked with people as young as 14 and as old as 76, and an amazing woman who travelled the entire route in a wheelchair, using her own incredible strength to push herself 20 miles in honor of a loved one lost to suicide.

At the very end, we wrapped ourselves in foil blankets and resembled a bunch of hot potatoes lying in an oven warming from the cool night! The sunrise was spectacular and we headed home for a much deserved soak in the tub, nap, and massage!!

We want to thank you all for your support, your prayers, and your love. And we thank those of you who supported our martini nite fundraiser at Global Grill last Thursday which raised $2600 – bringing the DREAM team total fundraising to $13,000! Special thanks to our “Corporate Sponsors” Global Grill & IN Weekly!!

Thanks to all of you for your support – along with the media, you have all helped raise more awareness than I could ever imagine. More people have come forward who have been affected in some way – together we are truly making a difference.

We are headed to Sonoma tomorrow to have a taste of wine country, and we’ll be back in Pensacola next week. We are honored to share this journey with you, and we will know after Labor Day where the DREAM team will be headed next year for the next Out of the Darkness Overnight walk to benefit AFSP.

We welcome any and all of you to join the DREAM Team next year – you can be a part of this amazing journey to help shed light on a subject that has been in the dark for too long.

Many blessings,
the DREAM Team, Raela, Stephen, and Maribeth

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