It took Karen Moloney, the owner of the Dairy Queen on Wehrli Road, two years to realize why Jonathan Kaden’s suicide made her want to give back.
When the Naperville Central student and Dairy Queen employee, ended his life in the summer of 2011 at age 17, Moloney didn’t know where to start. And it wasn’t until spring 2013 when she saw an adaptation of the novel “A Long Way Down,” by Nick Hornby, to benefit youth suicide prevention that the wheels began to turn.
Donations on the weekend of Jonathan’s birthday at Dairy Queen in 2013 morphed into a golf outing set for June 23. The fundraiser benefits the Suicide Prevention Services in Batavia and the National Center for the Prevention of Youth Suicide.
That’s when she realized she wasn’t being open about her experience with depression.
In fourth grade she saw a therapist for depression, something that has followed her on and off her whole life.
“I know what depression can do, the length that it can go,” Moloney said.
Since starting to talk about her own depression, Moloney feels as if something has lifted inside of her. She’s experiencing a freedom she never knew before.
And because of her personal experience, brought to the forefront by Jonathan’s suicide, Moloney is ready to help.
“I want to bring awareness of youth suicide,” she said. “This is my way of starting the conversation.”
According to the American Association of Suicidology, about 4,300 youth take their lives each year in the United States.
It is the third leading cause of death for youth behind accidents and homicide.
Jonathan loved working at Dairy Queen and especially enjoyed making Dilly Bars, so much that it became his nickname.
When his friends would stop by, they would ask for “Dilly Bar,” and everyone knew who they were talking about.
“Jonathan enjoyed dealing with people,” said his father Ken Kaden, acknowledging that his son didn’t relish the usual menial tasks like sweeping and cleaning up. “He liked to create the blizzards and confections.”
Jonathan worked at Dairy Queen almost two years before his death, a job that was originally offered to his older brother Jeremy.
They had both applied at the same time, but it was Jeremy who got the position. When he didn’t want it, he made sure his brother got it.
Ken admitted that his son enjoyed the job except “when his parents embarrassed him every time they came in.”
As in most suicides, there are more questions than answers, many that will remain unknown.
And for Moloney it’s about helping kids to ensure there are fewer youth deaths in the future.
Golf is her passion and she hopes that by bringing duffers together with funds to benefit two organizations, she can see that happen.
And it was important that the fundraiser benefit a local organization, so Moloney chose Suicide Prevention Services based in Batavia.
“Suicide Prevention Services does not receive any state or federal funding so fundraisers such as the Dilly Bar Golf Outing are what keeps our agency in business,” said executive director Stephanie Weber.
“Not only are the funds important to our agency, but the awareness that SPS exists is now given to a group of people who may not have known before so when they need help, they know where to come.”
For Moloney, she wants to remind people they shouldn’t hide in darkness if they have depression.
“It’s not something to be ashamed of,” she said.
And she will help bring it to light on the golf course in memory of a teen who loved to make the famous Dilly Bar ice cream treat.Tags: Dilly Bar, Good Cause
If you go
What: Dilly Bar Golf Outing
When: June 23, 8 a.m. tee off
Where: Tamarack Golf Club, 24032 Royal Worlington Drive, Naperville
To register: Forms are available at Dairy Queen, 1817 Wehrli Road, call 630-369-2523, or email firstname.lastname@example.org