Source: Sherman Publications

Local plans fundraiser with eye on prevention of suicide

by Susan Bromley

March 26, 2014

Jessica Keesling knows firsthand the devastating effects suicide has on those left to grieve.

She was just 17-years-old when her father, Joe Keesling, died Feb. 23, 2009 at the age of 46 from suicide. Joe Keesling, a former Bueche’s employee, was also a volunteer for the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund. Jessica had visited her Dad, who was an alcoholic and divorced from her mother, just days before his death in an effort to mend their estranged relationship.

“He was very emotional and unstable, but there were no signs (of suicidal thoughts),” she said. “It had become harder for him to go out and face the world and face reality... We laughed, we cried, we talked about everything for hours. My uncle had dragged him to Alcoholics Anonymous, but the disease beat him and there was no recovery.”

A week later he ended his own life.

According to the Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention, more than 36,000 people die from suicide in the United States each year. In Michigan, more than 1,100 suicides are reported annually.

A year ago, suicide again devastated the Keesling family when Jessica’s grandfather, Gerald Keesling, a former Brandon firefighter, ended his own life April 1, 2013, at the age of 74.

“He and my Dad were really close,” said Jessica. “After Dad passed, my grandfather went into depression. I think Grandpa just wanted to go and be with him. He also was a drinker, he stopped, but he suffered every day and he just gave up.”

sleeping or insomnia; loss of interest in once enjoyable activities; criminal behavior; and fixation with death and suicidal thoughts.

Jessica Keesling, who is employed with Youthful Image, is hosting a “Facials Against Suicide” fundraiser from 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sunday, April 6, at the business located at 4565 Pelton Road, Clarkston. A variety of services including 30-minute facials, 30-minute foot baths, brow and lip waxes, parafin hand dips, antioxidant scans, 10-minute massages and mini make-up applications will be offered for minimum donations, with all proceeds going to the Michigan Association for Suicide Prevention.

“I feel like if there was more known about suicide, we could have helped a little more,” said Jessica. “If my Dad had been educated on how it would affect the rest of his family and the others he left behind here, it might have helped.”

Jessica and her half-sister, Emma, now 7, have suffered from not having their father in their lives. With more education and prevention efforts, Jessica is hoping that others might be spared the loss of a parent or child or other loved one to suicide.

For more information on Facials Against Suicide and to book an appointment or donate, call 248-693-0101 or 248-613-8861. Donations will also be accepted through http:/