The Keith Milano Memorial Fund was established to help raise awareness about the devastating deadly disease that is Mental Illness.
Keith’s spirit and laughter is kept alive through our efforts to increase awareness about mental illness and to raise money for education and imperative research. Keith often struggled with society’s perception of mental illness. Our hope is that by having the strength to say that Keith was “Bipolar” we can strip away the stigma and help others to be more open about their disease.
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (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.
I wish I knew where to start.
Since I don't, I will start with how I want to end to ensure that I can get it out.
I would like all of you to please take some time today to remember your Keith stories, tell a story about how he made you smile, tell a story about how generous he was, tell a story about his laugh, tell a story about that Keith grin he displayed in every photo, or a story of any other Keith moment that brings you joy.
Maybe that was a good place to start because it says a lot about Keith and the person he will always be in our hearts.
I grew up with the greatest little brother and not just because he did what I told him.
While most siblings tattle on each other, when we were kids we would cover for each other.
As adults, Keith was always there for Larry and I and was always supportive.
He loved our son and did everything he could to help care for him.
Keith was the most caring Uncle a little boy could ask for. Just this Friday, as Larry and I battled over who would change a poopy diaper, Keith emphatically said I will, No Problem, WHY Because it was for Zach.
Keith was generous, sweet, kind and although it seems odd to say many would describe him as gregarious.
But over the past few years, the Keith most of you knew was the face he tried to put on for work, the person he so desperately wanted to be.
He struggled to outrun his illness but it constantly chased him. It hunted him down and stole the light from his eyes.
I Love my Brother with all that I am. I hope his pain has been relieved and that he found the peace he was seeking.
I will always be grateful for the time we had and that he was my brother.
I am thankful my parents raised such a wonderful man.
I hope you will always remember the special, though short time, you had with my KEITHY and that you carry him with you through your life's journey.
Love Always your Devoted Sister: Denise Milano Sprung
Here's a collection of memories from Keith's friends and family ...
...nothing beats the time when we were kids (9yrs old ish) I broke his thumb when we were riding bikes. As I remember it like yesterday, he stopped short to do a "skid" and I bumped into him from behind. Long story short I was crying hysterical for hours as we all went to the hospital because I hurt my best friend. The kicker was he wasnt crying he was trying to console me and let me know that it wasn't a big deal.
Brian A., Keith's lifelong friend
I was one of Keith's roommates in Buffalo before he left in our junior year I have never met someone who seemed to love life and who had more energy and charisma than Keith. He will be missed very much.
Keith is a GREAT young man. I think the world of him. My thoughts go back to the times we hung out together. Getting him into Reed's, going skiing, etc. I am having trouble expressing myself.......I write this with an extremely heavy heart.
I am so sorry to hear about Keith, for years he was the brother I always wished I had had. He was such a good person and as I sit here trying to write this I find that words just don't cover the loss. There was a point in my life where your family took me as one of their own when my family was falling apart, I can never repay them for that and Keith was a big part of that.
If Keith was in an unbearably painful physical illness others might more easily understand his suicide, but most people can't relate to unbearable emotional pain, emotional pain so great that death is preferable.
I grieve for all of you who tried so hard to help him. His suffering is over.
Keith was 27 years old or shall I say 27 years young. Keith was a geologist, son, brother, uncle, cousin, nephew, grandson, and friend. He had a kind soul and touched many lives in his very short life. He will be missed every day by all who were blessed to have had him in our lives.
You truly honored Keith's memory through your commitment to helping others and raising awareness of the challenges faced by those suffering with depression, bipolar disease, and other mental illnesses.
Marian and Ken
THE POWER OF YOUR DONATION
The Keith Milano Memorial Fund is a self directed fund at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention 100% of the money is spent on programs and research selected by the Milano / Sprung family. No expenses are taken from the fund.
The Keith Milano Memorial Fund has funded research grants as well as awareness programs.
We proudly helped sponsor the More Than Sad program. More Than Sad is a program of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention that provides education about factors that put youth at risk for suicide, in particular depression and other mental disorders (the film features teens sharing their stories with the hope of helping others).
Other monies have been spent on the following research grants:
2006: Benjamin Goldstein, MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
The Temporal Association between Substance Use and Suicidality among Adolescents with Bipolar Disorders
2007: Naguib Mechawar, PhD, McGill University
Investigating Glial Cells Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) in the Amygdala of Suicide victims
Abstract: Naguib Mechawar PhD
2008: Helen Reinherz, ScD, Simmons College
Factors Promoting Good Adult Functioning in Adolescents with Suicidal Ideation: A Pilot Study
Abstract: Helen Reinherz
2009: Gustavo Turecki, MD, PhD Douglas Mental Health Institute / McGill University (Canada),
Differential Micro RNA Expression in the Prefrontal Cortex of Suicides
Summary of Findings: Turecki Research Connection
Keith’s fund was a major contributor for a film for bipolar disorder education to be distributed to physicians to help educate them on the disease.
We also funding an interactive screening program for college students; it starts online, moves to online chat and then the goal is to get at risk students to face to face counseling
Thank you for all the support as we help raise awareness about the devastating disease that is mental illness.