Annual walk to spotlight suicide prevention, raise funds

Health Care and Community News

For Immediate Release 

Source: IEHP


Contact: Inland Empire Health Plan 

Kristina Hernandez, Media & Public Relations Strategist

909-552-0509 | kristina.hernandez@iehp.org

Inland Empire Health Plan to host Inland Empire Out of the Darkness Walk for 2023

A chance to walk alongside those impacted by suicide is set for Saturday, Oct. 21, at Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) for the second year in a row.


Teams and individuals can now register for the Inland Empire Out of the Darkness Walk, an annual event planned in cities nationwide to raise awareness of suicide prevention through available resources from the likes of IEHP and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Walk proceeds support the AFSP’s mission to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.


Losing someone to suicide, explained Garret Lopez, an IT Specialist I with IEHP, is a “different kind of mourning. It’s a different type of death, a death that always has a stigma behind it and is still difficult for my mom to even talk about.”


Lopez began participating in the walk in 2017 following the death of his sister, Melanie. Brining the walk to IEHP has significant meaning behind it because for Lopez, it shows the not-for-profit health organization is living up to its mission of healing and inspiring the human spirit, he shared.


“Last year, I shared my story with everybody (in attendance) on the stairs of IEHP. That was a significant moment for me because I didn’t think I could ever bring the walk to where I work, let alone share my story of hope and resilience,” he continued. “That moment made it a lot more special for me because I spoke in memory of my sister and in a way was able to speak to her directly and say, ‘Look what we’re doing in your memory.’


“To have this event come to IEHP, where we have a large behavioral health team, makes it even more special because we have so many resources available to communities IEHP supports in both San Bernardino and Riverside counties. In a way, it seems like it has come full circle,” Lopez said.


The 2023 Inland Empire Out of the Darkness Walk will take participants around IEHP’s Rancho Cucamonga headquarters at 10801 Sixth St. the day of the event. Check-in begins at 9 a.m. and is followed by the walk at 10:30 a.m. Walkers are welcome to bring trinkets, signs and don T-shirts featuring quotable sayings and tributes to their loved ones.


Participants can register as a team or individually online at supporting.afsp.org. Contact Walk Chair Jay Jester at  afsp.jjester@gmail.com or 760-899-5406 for support or to learn more.


Established in 1987, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is a voluntary health organization that provides support for those affected by suicide through community engagement, research, education and advocacy. AFSP is headquartered in New York but has local chapters in all 50 states.


Inland Empire Health Plan is a top 10 largest Medicaid health plan and the largest not-for-profit Medicare-Medicaid public health plan in the country. Now in its 27th year, IEHP’s community of team members and providers supports more than 1.6 million members in San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Behavioral Health resources through IEHP are offered 24/7 through its website at iehp.org or by calling Member Services at 800-440-4347 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, or from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.


If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at by dialing 988 or by visiting 988lifeline.org and selecting the “988 Chat” option.




WHAT: 2023 Inland Empire Out of the Darkness Walk


WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21


WHERE: Inland Empire Health Plan, 10801 Sixth St., Rancho Cucamonga 91730


COST: Free


INFO: Jay Jester, 760-899-5406 or afsp.jjester@gmail.com

The 2023 Inland Empire Out of Darkness Walk is set for Saturday, Oct. 21, at Inland Empire Health Plan's headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga. The event is planned annually to raise awareness of suicide prevention, with proceeds from the event benefiting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.