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Rich Hill man beats a goal

A Richmond Hill resident set to walk 20 miles around Manhattan in the middle of the night Saturday surpassed his goal of raising $1,000 for suicide prevention.

Adam Kern is walking in the event, The Out of the Darkness Overnight, to pay tribute to his father, who killed himself 11 years ago after fighting with his wife while they were going through a divorce.

The June 7 walk benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which requested that participants raise $1,000 for the cause.

"I miss my father and always will. If I, if we, can help even one person — at that critical moment where they are about to take their own life — to just think twice, to see there is another way, then we have all done this world a great service and spared a family and friends untold amounts of suffering," Kern wrote on the Web site that tracks the donations he has received.

Kern, 26, has surpassed that goal, raising $1,060 as of Friday. Anyone interested in donating can do so by going to www.theovernight.org, clicking on the "Support a Participant" button and typing Kern's name.

He said if anyone wants to donate, "I'll keep their names on my person and say a prayer for them" while he walks.

Most of his 17 donations so far came from family members, although Kern said he noticed that a stranger pitched in when he recently logged on to the site.

Kern earlier told TimesLedger that the walk marks the first public step he has taken to deal with his father's suicide.

He used to avoid the problem, but recently felt it would be better to help prevent suicide after he saw an advertisement for the walk in the subway.

"It's taken so long for me to even recognize that I could make [the tragedy] into a good thing," he said.

Organizers of the event have yet to announce the route for the walk, but Kern said he was in good shape and looked forward to completing the 20 miles.

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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