CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) — Runners and walkers are making their way along a mile-long loop from sunset to sunrise to raise awareness and money for mental health resources.
More than 80 people participated in the second-ever Franklin All-Nighter starting Saturday night into Sunday morning.
“We want to be a part of the group of people who say, ‘You can seek help, it’s okay, and here’s some resources for how to do it’,” said Pastor Paul Burgess from the University Baptist Church, which organized the event.
The event raises money for mental health services that help UNC students and athletes, as well as members of the Orange County community.
“This is a community event, we’re a partner in it and we’re proud to be, but this is something that we want all of Chapel Hill to be able to part of,” said Burgess.
With traumatic events happening on UNC’s campus this semester, including two separate active shooter situations, organizers are hopeful this year’s event can make an even greater impact.
“Unpacking that process, even as an adult who was far removed from the situation, and honestly not in physical danger during that time, it was a lot for me to process and work through,” Burgess said, adding that he can’t imagine what students who were on-campus at the time went through.
Burgess hopes the event can continue growing, and can spread to nearby college campuses, especially as mental health remains a vital topic on university campuses.
Participants like Megan Facer, who’s a mental health professional, are proud to see this type of event happening in Chapel Hill.
“It does normalize mental health, all these participants can speak to their own needs, or someone they know, so we can just get together and say we’re all just trying to support the same cause.”
Organizers hope to raise $35,000 this year with the event that is scheduled to end around 7:30 a.m. Sunday.
Participants did not have to walk or run for the entirety of the more than 13-hour event, which featured live music performances and information about numerous mental health resources throughout.