Washington mum who lost both husband and son to suicide encourages men to speak out as she raises £14,000 for MIND
A mum who lost both her husband and her son to suicide has raised over £14,000 to help spare others the same suffering.
Gloria Keegan, 63, from Roker, lost her husband Tommy to suicide in 1999 aged 44, and her son Gary, aged 39, in 2020 to similar painful circumstances.
After going through the heartbreaking tragedy twice, Gloria, who works in a care home, wants no one else to feel the same pain.
She is encouraging men to speak out about their mental health and ask for help rather than suffering in silence, and also decided to raise funds for a mental health charity.
In memory of Tommy and Gary, Gloria and her sons Kris and Tony, organised a number of fundraising events to raise money for Washington MIND, and the MIND organisation nationally.
The events included a charity football match, skydive and a charity day at Eppleton Cricket club.
The fundraising efforts saw a total of £14,685.50 brought in, with £13,322.50 going to the Washington branch and the rest to the national organisation.
Gloria told of the family’s pride as she officially handed over the cheque to Washington MIND.
“We feel so proud,” she told the Echo.
"Doing this has helped my sons and myself, it has given us focus, hopefully focusing on MIND will help others.
"I know Gary would be proud of us, he has been in everyone's thoughts throughout this.”
Organising the various events has helped Gloria and her sons deal with the grief of losing Gary.
Gloria added: “A lot of men find it hard to admit or talk to anyone about their feelings. We want men to be able to reach out, know where they can seek help and know it’s okay not to feel okay.
“Mind provides a fantastic service where people can talk in confidence, freely and openly without any judgement.”
:: You don’t have to be suicidal to call Samaritans.
Whatever you’re going through, call them free any time from any phone on 116 123 (this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill), email [email protected], or visit www.samaritans.org to find details of your nearest branch.