Gloucester couple seeks to help others after son’s suicide

by Peter J. Teagle - Posted on Sep 12, 2018 - 11:40 AM

Photo: Tereasa and Dan Zaruba hold a photo album of their youngest son Aaron, who committed suicide in 2016. Aaron was, according to his parents, an avid wrestler, guitar player, and baseball fan who loved his dogs and making children happy. The Zarubas have started the Aaron Zaruba Foundation Fund to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness in their son’s honor. Their first fundraising event will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Abingdon Ruritan Club, Bena. Photo by Peter J. Teagle

Tereasa and Dan Zaruba hold a photo album of their youngest son Aaron, who committed suicide in 2016. Aaron was, according to his parents, an avid wrestler, guitar player, and baseball fan who loved his dogs and making children happy. The Zarubas have started the Aaron Zaruba Foundation Fund to raise money for suicide prevention and awareness in their son’s honor. Their first fundraising event will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Abingdon Ruritan Club, Bena. Photo by Peter J. Teagle

“I remember it like yesterday…”

At 7:55 a.m. on Sept. 26, 2016, Dan and Tereasa Zaruba of Gloucester received a call from their oldest son saying that youngest son Aaron was dead. He was 26. It was self-inflicted.

“After our son died by suicide,” Dan Zaruba said, “we felt very alone.” For 18 months, the couple dealt with their own emotional fallout from Aaron’s decision to end his life.

“We thought the best way to aid in our healing was to create a foundation in memory of Aaron,” Zaruba explained.

That organization, the Aaron Zaruba Foundation Fund, is geared to further suicide awareness, provide prevention materials and programs, and help people access counseling and other psychiatric services.

A fundraiser has been scheduled to kickstart the foundation and will be held from 6-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22, at the Abingdon Ruritan Club in Bena.

Tickets are $60 each and include dinner catered by Gidi Gourmet, wine, beer, sodas, and entertainment. In addition, a silent auction and 50/50 raffles will be held to raise funds.

According to Zaruba, each $1,000 raised is enough to provide six hours of psychiatry, 12.5 hours of sessions with a therapist, or 54 hours of intensive substance abuse treatment.

“Suicide is an epidemic, to be honest with you,” said Dan Zaruba. “We have the goal of raising enough money to keep a therapist on staff at the Gloucester-Mathews Care Clinic to help people who need these services.”

“This is the second leading cause of death for white men ages 10-34,” Tereasa Zaruba added. “If you can reach someone and talk to them you can show them some hope.”

The Zarubas have already seen 205 tickets purchased for the fundraiser and are looking to raise $25,000 so they can start making their goal of showing people hope a reality.

“We only had 26 short years with him, he is dearly missed,” said Tereasa Zaruba, “but he will be with us forever in our hearts.”