DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) A New York father on a mission to raise awareness made a stop in the Quad Cities Saturday. His mission is being delivered on a boat with a purpose, more than a year after his son died by suicide.
Keegan Donovan was 16 when he died. Keegan's father, Jeremy, is hoping his son's death can help other's live. Jeremy is traveling across the country in his boat.
"I have been on the Tennesse River, the Des Moines, The Mississippi," he said.
He's stopping along the way with a message, hoping to save lives.
"Suicide is not a joke," Jeremy said. "Depression, anxiety is not something we should laugh and joke about. We should help."
Jeremy's journey began months ago when he left New York. He's headed to Alaska. He's currently making his way up the Mighty Mississippi River.
"This is one of the most dangerous rivers I have ever been on," Jeremy said.
Riding shotgun in the boat is Keegan's ashes. The trip across America is more than just one to spread awareness, but also one with a bigger purpose.
"When I am in the boat and we are riding together, Keegan and I are riding together," Jeremy said. "If this boat sinks tomorrow, I'll put him in the kayak and I'll paddle to Alaska."
Nationwide, suicide rates are up in all but one state, 45,000 people completed suicide in 2016. It is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 34.
"I tell people 'have you cried for 10 months straight?', Jeremy stated. "You really don't know until you've lost a son or a child. No parent should bury a child."
On each of his stops, Jeremey is making it a point to do a good deed. It's a lesson learned from his son and being done his Keegan's honor.
"Keegan was a very caring and outgoing person," Jeremy said. "He doesn't care if you were a jock or a bookworm."
Jeremy will make his way to Minneapolis Sunday evening where he hopes to take his boat out of the water and drive to Montana where he'll get back in and make his way to the Pacific Ocean and up to Alaska. He doesn't know when he will finish his journey but he hopes to make it before it gets too cold.
If you or someone you know is feeling suicidal or depressed, TV6 encourages you to call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. The hotline is staffed 24/7/365.