This is one of Daisy Johnson’s favorite photos of her with her father, Steve.

Since the death of her father, Steve, in October 2014, Daisy Johnson and her family – Mom Jeanne and siblings Charlee and Kort – have received a constant show love and support from the Vinton community, and the farming and wrestling families whose lives Steve had touched for so many years.

That support has been demonstrated yet again, as Daisy has already exceeded her Out of the Darkness Walk goal, with nearly $1,800 already pledged to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. She had originally set a goal of $500.

Daisy, now a freshman at UNI, is among several UNI students participating in the walk this Saturday, April 1. The Walk takes place at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The event includes a memorial ceremony, a three-mile walk and speakers. The UNI event will be one of nearly 400 Out of the Darkness Walks involving more than 250,000 participants.

Since arriving at UNI, Daisy has already met other students whose lives have been affected by suicide, and she hopes to make sure those each student and family touched by suicide or depression can receive the same kind of support she had had – especially those whose struggles have been so private that virtually nobody knows of their pain.

“It is very hard at times for me and my family, but my goal is to help someone who is also going through it,” says Daisy. “The money we raise goes mainly towards research and resources that help people who have experienced suicide in one way or another – whether they have lost someone to suicide or have tried to commit suicide themselves. The AFSP wants people to be aware that suicide is very common but often gets overlooked. They want to provide better ways to reach those who struggle while also educating schools and communities on how to make mental health a first priority.”

The organization offers programs and resources to help with healing, including volunteers who are willing to meet with families in person, by phone, or by video to help provide support through their most difficult times.

See the Walk schedule HERE.

To donate via Daisy’s personal Out of the Darkness fund-raising page, click HERE.

About the AFSP

Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is a voluntary health organization that gives those affected by suicide a nationwide community empowered by research, education and advocacy to take action against this leading cause of death.

AFSP is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.  AFSP creates a culture that’s smart about mental health by engaging in the following core strategies:

  • Funding scientific research
  • Developing public education
  • Advocating for public policies in mental health and suicide prevention
  • Supporting survivors of suicide loss and those affected by suicide in our mission

Led by CEO Robert Gebbia and headquartered in New York, and with a public policy office in Washington, D.C., AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. AFSP celebrates 30 years of service to the suicide prevention movement. Learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.