In Saratoga Springs, more than 1,500 walkers and volunteers turned out to help raise money and awareness for suicide prevention as part of the annual Out of the Darkness Capital Region Walk for R.I.T.A. The event, which featured a 2-mile walk through the Saratoga Spa State Park, included the participation of numerous teams collecting sponsorships. As of Sunday, the event had raised about $179,000. The walk is named after Dr. Rita Leighton, who lost her private battle with depression in October of 2004 by committing suicide. The first walk in her memory was held in 2005. The Out of the Darkness Walk for R.I.T.A. is one of more than 350 such walks around the country. The walk is held in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Rita’s name has been adapted as an acronym for Remembrance Intervention Together (we can bring) Awareness. For more information, visit https://afsp.org/
In Troy, the ninth annual Paws in the Park event helped raise more than $19,000 as of Sunday for the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and its efforts to care for more than 5,800 animals it takes in each year. The event, held at Joe Bruno Stadium, featured a stroll around the baseball field, a Canine Ninja Warrior contest, paw painting, a pet photo booth, costume and talent contest, vendors, prizes and refreshments. For more information on the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society and to donate, visit https://mohawkhumane.org/.
In Saratoga Springs, dozens of athletes got together for a half-marathon through the city to raise money and awareness about mental illness as part of the annual The Saratoga Palio Melanie Merola O’Donnell Memorial Race. The 13.1-mile race raises money for the Melanie Foundation, created in 2006 in honor of Melanie Merola O’Donnell, who died at the age of 33. Among the foundation’s efforts is a scholarship awarded to an outstanding post-graduate student in the field of mental health, as well as donations to local nonprofit organizations. For more information, visit: http://www.themelaniefoundation.com.
High Notes is a feature of The Gazette Opinion section that appears every Monday to spotlight the good being done in our communities by individuals, organizations and businesses. Reader submissions to High Notes are welcome. Send suggestions to Editorial Page Editor Mark Mahoney at [email protected].