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Dairy Queen ambassador's first act: Let's talk about teen suicide

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

Few knew of the young man's depression. It had gotten worse following the death of a friend. On July 29, 2011, a week after returning from a journalism camp at Ball State University, the 17-year-old stepped in front of a train and was killed.

Moloney and the entire community were in shock.

"High school kids flooded the store and covered the sidewalk with chalk messages about him," she recalled.

His "Dilly Bar" name tag was hung near the ceiling of the store, a silver metal angel attached. And Moloney took action.

She stocked the store with pamphlets about youth suicide prevention. She encouraged kids and families to start talking about the issue. By 2014, she launched an annual golf outing as a fundraiser for suicide prevention agencies. It was called the Dilly Bar Annual Golf Outing, and it happened every year until this year.

And there's a reason for that. Last November, Moloney was diagnosed with cancer in her bile ducts. It's not curable, and doctors estimated she had four to 16 months to live. They told her to get her affairs in order.

So she did. Her sister, Maureen Battista, came on as a co-owner of the Dairy Queen. And Moloney fought the cancer.

It's been almost a year and she's doing OK. As she puts it, "I'm living CAT scan to CAT scan."

But she was too weak to do the golf outing this year, and that weighs on her. She doesn't want to let Jonathan's memory or her youth suicide advocacy fade.

"Hopefully I'll be around next year and can get it going again," she said.

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