Politics, Moderate



Volunteers rush in to take up teen suicide prevention cause

By Rex Huppke, Tribune Content Agency on

An observation that gives me faith in humanity is that when something's wrong -- when there's a tragedy or an illness or a natural disaster -- people rush in to help.

A story about a family's home burning down runs in the newspaper and people respond with donations and myriad acts of kindness.

Hurricanes batter Texas and Florida and people from all corners of the country hurry down paths that are set up to help. They donate. They volunteer. They go where they're needed.

So this is a story about people rushing in.

Early last month, I wrote about Karen Moloney, the owner of a Dairy Queen in Naperville, Ill. My introduction to her came in the silliest of ways. In a July column I described my love of ice cream and my joking desire to become "a Dairy Queen ambassador."

Moloney reached out and bequeathed upon me the official title of ambassador of her Dairy Queen. I humbly accepted and then got to know Moloney's story.


In 2011, a 17-year-old who worked at her Dairy Queen committed suicide. The young man's death shook Moloney, and she dedicated herself to raising awareness of youth suicide, eventually starting an annual golf outing that raised money for suicide prevention groups.

The teenager, Jonathan Kaden, loved making Dilly Bars when he worked for Moloney, so she named the event the Dilly Bar Annual Golf Outing. As you might expect, people rushed in and thousands of dollars were raised each year.

Until this year.

Moloney was diagnosed with cancer last November. It's in her bile ducts, and it's not curable. She has been fighting, and continues to do so, but it was too much for her to pull off the Dilly Bar fundraiser.


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