My InkTober drawing for Day 30 is a copy of a photo I took during one of my bike rides along the Sungei Serangoon Park Connector in Singapore. My husband and I loved cycling along this park connector, a part of which was literally across our condo. It was such a convenient, scenic and fun way to cycle in Singapore.
After almost two years, today I was on my bike again. I took it out of storage, inflated the tires, and wiped away most of the dust. It was time to test my bike and my legs, to see how many kilometers I can add to the Cycle Around the Globe initiative on September 10.
I am joining this cycling event that is part of the World Suicide Prevention Day campaign on September 10 because I want to help spread awareness for suicide prevention. I am moved on a very personal level because September 10 is also the death anniversary of a dear friend of mine who committed suicide.
Today, nine days before the Cycle Around the Globe event, I am also inspired by friends and strangers who also plan to cycle for suicide prevention. Perhaps some of them are avid cyclists, with sleek marathon bikes and pledges of tens of kilometers or miles to cycle. Some are probably recreational cyclists who take their easy riders around the park a few times a week. Others might be more like me, taking out their long-forgotten bikes and slowly pushing their bodies, their legs again after what feels like ages.
I was able to cycle only 2.5 kilometers today. But I will keep cycling, keep practicing a little bit more in the coming days. And on September 10, whatever distance I am ultimately able to cycle, I am doing it in solidarity with these friends and strangers with whom I share the same cause, the same passion for advocating suicide awareness and prevention.
It’s fifteen days till September 10, fifteen days till World Suicide Prevention Day, fifteen days till the first death anniversary of my friend who was lost to suicide.
“In 2014, the theme of World Suicide Prevention Day is ‘Suicide Prevention: One World Connected.’ The theme reflects the fact that connections are important at several levels if we are to combat suicide.
Connectedness is crucial to individuals who may be vulnerable to suicide. Studies have shown that social isolation can increase the risk of suicide and, conversely, that having strong human bonds can be protective against it. Reaching out to those who have become disconnected from others and offering them support and friendship may be a life-saving act.”
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) is calling for volunteers to support World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) 2014 by doing these things to show the importance of connectedness and to promote the message of suicide prevention:
1. Cycle Around the World. WSPD aims to collectively cycle the circumference of the globe, which is 40,075 kilometers or 24,900 miles and to have people cycling on every continent.
2. Light a Candle. At 8pm on September 10, light a candle near a window in support of suicide prevention and awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones.
3. Be open to talking and learning about depression and suicide prevention. Promote it on your social networks. Know the signs and the ways you can reach out. Organize your family and friends to cycle, light candles and show support for suicide awareness and prevention. Donate to IASP or your preferred support group.
I have fifteen days to get my slightly rusted bicycle ready and to get myself in shape to cycle again after almost two cycling-free years (ouch!). I do have my candle ready. And I am getting ready to post this all over my social networks and to invite friends to join me in supporting World Suicide Prevention Day.
How about you?