FUQUAY-VARINA, N.C. (WNCN)–Hundreds gather in Fuquay-Varina to raise suicide prevention awareness.

“You can’t explain what it’s like or how it feels until it happens to you,” said Trevor Law, who traveled with his family from Clayton Sunday. He joined hundreds of others in Fuquay-Varina for the annual Central Carolina Out of the Darkness Community Walk. Law said he lost his sister, Kathie Blumeyer-Choplin, to suicide about four years ago. He said his sister, who was 33, took her life shortly after her husband did the same. Law said, “You hear about it all the time, people committing suicide and things of that nature, but when it happens so close to home it changes the way you look at it.”

Since losing his sister, Law said that it’s been a long healing process. He said, “We had to take some time as a family to heal, but now we’ve come to a place where we want to be more active in the community to try to raise awareness to these issues.”

During an opening ceremony, the Law listened to speeches of others who had also been personally impacted by suicide and later joined 600 others who registered for the event to walk through Fleming Loop Park.

Organizers said the event helped raise $61,000 that will support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Event staff said Out of the Darkness Walks happen all over the country and support research, education and suicide prevention initiatives and programs to support people impacted by suicide.

“Everyone here is here for the same reason and that is the fight against suicide,” said April Dupree who helped lead and organize the Central Carolina Walk. Dupree said they placed 1,500 blue flags in Fleming Loop Park on Sunday to represent the lives lost because of suicide in North Carolina last year. She said there’s been a rising number of first responders impacted. The foundation said each year close to a million people make a suicide attempt and nearly 38,000 die by suicide in the U.S.

When it comes to mental health resources, Dupree said North Carolina is suffering. She said, “As a mental health provider, myself, I’ve unfortunately had to send clients out of state to get the care that they need.” Dupree said that part of the reason is because existing facilities are already overcrowded.

Dupree, who has lost family members and friends to suicide, said the event can often become very emotional, but it also allows families to come together to heal. She said, “As much as I love to see everyone together, it’s for a very sad reason and if we can save one person, that’s one person we don’t have to mourn next year.”