Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Keith Milano Memorial Fund

Not only as a reader, but as a friend, I am happy to help support the Keith Milano Memorial Fund along with an amazing group of authors have agreed to donate a portion of their May 2015 books sales to the Keith Milano Memorial Fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).

Like many families - mine has not gone unaffected. I met my husband after his attempt. Below is a message from him about the struggles he has faced.

William Styron, the author best known for “Sophie’s Choice”, was also an essayist who wrote a story in 1989 for Vanity Fair which eventually expanded into his memoir, “Darkness Visible.”  Styron took his private battle with depression and revealed to the public, the pain and suffering he went through which nearly led him to end it with suicide.  

In his words, “the pain of severe depression is quite unimaginable to those who have not suffered it, and it kills in many instances because its anguish can no longer be bourne. 

Anyone that has ever found themselves mired in the pit of depression will find themselves relating to Styron’s story of grief and tormentThere is a particular word that Styron uses quite frequently in "Darkness Visible", and it resonated with me:  


Despair is the complete loss or absence of hopeLike many people, I've been there. Frustration, heartache and desperation can be completely overwhelming. When it all hits you, hope is the last thing on your mind. While many have bottomed out like the proverbial country song at one point or another in their life,  they have eventually recovered. But there are some like myself that have hit such depths of pity and self-loathing that, in their hearts and minds, the only solution was the final one. 

Back in July of 1995, that's where I was. The complete details of how I ended up in such a precarious situation actually goes back a few years and involves a complex thread of players and storylines. It's also something that, for the most part, I have shared with a few friends.  Details aside, I found myself sinking into to such a state of sadness and loneliness that I tried to end my life.  

I didn’t immediately give up on myself.  hung in there. I tried to “get over it”. I spoke with friends. I tried to get help. There were times that I would see a glimmer of hope, but the depression would extinguish it. Friends eventually grew tired of the drama, and rightly so. Depression can be a difficult situation for some to try and help with, even those with the most compassionate hearts can come up empty when trying to get involved.  At that point, tried and I failed. I was done. I was beaten. 

There is a bit of irony in the fact that I followed up my string of failures with another failure. In some respect, this “failure” was probably the best outcome I could have had.  July 7th, 1995 after hours of crying and begging for help. I broke down. I didn’t snap, I just gave up. 

It’s been 20 some years but still remember the sequence of events. What still stands out to me is how quickly I realized my mistake. There are stories of folks that somehow survived jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge with the same intentions that I had (my attempt wasn’t as drastic) who also had the same change of heart. Despite some of our best efforts, self-preservation may just be our “default settings” no matter how hard we try to override it.  

In my case, the method I used gave me enough time to seek medical attention. I was hospitalized overnight. The questions came pouring in from the family and the medical staff. The one word that kept coming up was, “Why?” I don’t know that I’ll ever have a good answer. My attempt at escaping the despair that tore at my heart opened up a Pandora’s Box of emotions and yet I still to this day wonder how I let it get this far. 

I'd like to say that after that attempt I realized the error of my ways. The problem is, depression is tricky. It sneaks up on you, even when you think  you've got it beat, you will stumble.   It will get you if you go it alone. I stumbled a few more times before I realized what it was that I needed. It wasn't medication or meditation. I wasn't looking for inner peace or "an answer". Prayers, were helpful but the one thing that I realized I needed was a shoulder to lean on. Sometimes we don't need someone to tell us how to fix our problem, sometimes you just need someone to sit with you and just be "there". 

I did eventually find my way out of the darkness. It took some time, of course. But things turned around eventually with a little luck and lot of prayers.  A change of scenery, a chance meeting with a kindred spirit and twenty years of adventures brought me out of my depression. I still have those occasional moments where a little panic will set in, but I turned my focus to God and I have a great partner that knows that I'll go a little "crazy" sometimes and knows what to do (for the most part). Despair is the absence of hope, but it doesn't mean that it's the end. For me it was the beginning.
You can help in so many ways. Buy a book, make a donation, share your story. Every little bit helps. 
The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating and deadly disease that is mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma.
If anyone wishes to make a direct donation to the 
Keith Milano Memorial Fund they can do that HERE.
Our goal is to raise awareness about mental illness and to get people talking…..

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for ages 10-24; the US loses 22 Vets a day to suicide, more than they lose in combat; there is one death by suicide in the US every 13 minutes. These statistics are scary but together we can work to make a difference!
Here is a list of the participating authors and books:
Author Book(s)
Alison Bailey The "Perfect" Series and Past Imperfect
Amy Harmon The Song of David (preorder live May 11th)
Amy Lane Chase in Shadows
Ann Lister Rock Gods series - Fall For Me, Take What You Want, Make You Mine, Looking At Forever, Meant for Me (releasing in May)
Anthology - Kindle Alexander Toni Aleo, Sawyer Bennett, Chelle Bliss, Eden Butler, Brenda Rothert The Night Shift - Dirty Things Happen in the Dark
Andria Large At War
Beverly Preston Surviving Broken
Brenda Rothert Killian and Unspoken
Cassia Leo The Story of Us Series - The Way We Fall book 1 and book two The Way we Break released in May
Cardeno C Jumping In
Claudia Connor Worth the Risk
Chelle Bliss Throttle Me
Faith Gibson The Stone Society Series - Rafael, Gregor and Dante (releasing the end of May)
Emily Snow and Avonlea Cole Bad Advice
Felice Stevens Through Hell and Back series - A Walk Through Fire, After the Fire and Embrace the Fire
Ginger Scott Wild Reckless
Harper Sloan Full Catalog
Holly Roberts The Completion Series: Play, Strike, Kick, and Slam
Ilsa Madden Miles Very Wicked Beginnings
Julie Jaret Perspectives series (currently two titles: Extreme Close-Up and Over-Exposed
K Bromberg Fueled
Katy Evans The Real Series
Kelly Jamieson Loving Maddie from A to Z
Lainey Reese Full Catalog
Lauren Blakley Full Catalog
Lisa Eugene Grayson
ME Carter Change of Hart
Melissa Collins On Solid Ground
Michelle Lynn Love Me Back
Nicole Edwards A Million Tiny Pieces by Nicole Edwards and Unhinged, Unraveling, & Chaos - The Unhinged series by Timberlyn Scott
Nina Levine The Storm MC series - Storm, Fierce, Blaze, Revive, Slay & Relent
Rebecca Brooke Letters Home
Raine Miller Rare and Precious Things
Sandra Owens Someone Like Her
Samantha Young On Dublin Street
Samantha Towle Trouble
Sawyer Bennett Clash (Cal and Macy #1), Grind (Cal and Macy #2), Yield Cal and Macy #3), Uncivilized, On the Rocks (Last Call, #1) , Make It a Double (Last Call, #2), Sugar on the Edge (Last Call, #3), With a Twist (Last Call, #4), Shaken, Not Stirred (Last Call, #5), Legal Affairs Boxed Set (Legal Affairs #1-6), Confessions of a Litigation God (Legal Affairs #7) Off Sides (Off #1), Off Limits (Off #2), Off the Record (Off #3), Off the Course (Off #4), Off Chance (Off #5), Off Season (Off #6)
Scott Hildreth Baby Girl series
SJD Peterson “Joe” Full Catalog
Stacy Borel Hitchhiker
Susan Mac Nicol Love You Senseless and Sight and Sinners (Men Of London series)
Tina Reber Jacked
Violet Duke Can't Resist Series: Resisting the Bad Boy, Falling for the Good Guy, Choosing the Right Man and Finding the Right Girl and Nice Girl to Love Trilogy boxed set
This year the event will also include an online auction and author takeover over 4 amazing days!! We hope that you will join us for not only some great auction items but to have an opportunity to speak with participating authors during an epic author take over event.

Please join us on Facebook HERE
In addition to all of these great things, thanks to the amazing design skills of author SJD Peterson, we also have custom t-shirt for sale, which part of the sales will also benefit the Keith Milano Memorial Fund.

Personal Message from Denise Milano Sprung: When Keith passed away, I made a promise to myself that he would not go quietly nor would he be forgotten. It is with the help of all of you that 10 years later, I am able to keep this promise and most of all to be able to help others who may be suffering in silence.

Thank you does not seem like enough. So please know that from the bottom of my heart to the depths of my soul, every one-click of these books helps others and continues to reduce the stigma that is associated with mental illness. THANK YOU for all you do and for spreading the word and for opening your hearts to help others.

Fund information:
Keith Milano Memorial Fund
140 Adams Ave Suite B-12
Hauppauge NY 11788
direct donation
The Keith Milano Memorial Fund benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP).
Donations at the end of the May Mental Awareness Event will be made by the authors directly to The Keith Milano Memorial Fund at AFSP. Keith’s fund is a self-directed memorial fund. 100% of the money is spent on programs and research programs selected by the Milano / Sprung family
For examples of programs:
AFSP is the only national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research and education, and to reaching out to people with mood disorders and those affected by suicide.

AFSP is a fully accredited 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization incorporated in the state of Delaware with primary offices in New York City. Federal tax ID # is 13-3393329. AFSP’s Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) number is 10545.
All donations to AFSP are tax deductible.

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