Thank you to WAND 17 Decatur, Illinois and Megan O'Dell
After the loss of her only child Jared, his mother was understandably devastated from the tragedy. Through her Faith and support from friends and family, she quickly realized she was being guided by her son to get the message out that suicide is not the answer. In the days that followed Jared's death, his mother spoke at each of his services, a total of three. She spoke with grace and passion about her son and his struggles with anger management and depression throughout his life. She spoke from the heart to each person in attendance and touched many at the core of their being.
Ultimately she was touched by one of Jared's best friends who reached out to her to help stop suicide. This young lady organized the first Jared's Keepers team to walk in the Music City Out of the Darkness walk in September 2014 and led them to many outstanding recognitions. In the first year of existence Jared's Keepers raised the most donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in the Music City Walk, they had the largest team at the walk with nearly 80 walkers which comprised of nearly 10% of the total walkers present, and ultimately was asked to lead the walkers during the day. This young lady also organized many additional suicide awareness activities and events within her community to help students understand that suicide is not the answer. It didn't take Deb long to realize that this young lady was brought to her by her Angel Son and were joining forces for a great cause. After discussing things with her husband, Rich, it was decided that a foundation needed to be formed to support the efforts taking place. Little did she know where that would lead at the time.
Today Deb is speaking candidly to students and organizations alike to bring awareness to the issue of suicide, especially that of teens. She is keeping her son's memory alive by promoting everything he was about, love of adventure, love of life, love of family, love of friends, and passion to help others. The story she tells of Jared's Journey touches students, teachers, parents, and others alike. She tells how he was talented, loved life and adventurous activities, athletic with great prospects ahead, and ultimately his struggles that led to his death.
Deb has also become a Field Advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and talks to media, police, firefighter, and first responders on the safe way to talk about suicide.
She also speaks to churches and other organizations on her spiritual journey with her son.
Deb has also had articles published by the online grief magazine, The Grief Toolbox. She has also been busy working on a children's book about grief and how to understand it from a child's eyes.
If you would like Deb to speak to your organization please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org