Dilly Bar Golf Outing Raises Funds for Suicide Prevention

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On a hot and sunny summer day if you can count on anything to bring people together and get outside, it’s sports and, of course, ice cream.

And that’s exactly what happened on Sunday at Tamarack Golf Club. But the Dilly Bar Golf Outing isn’t just about wedges and waffle cones. The 133 golfers teeing off were there to bring attention to a larger, and often less public issue: suicide prevention.

The outing was started by Karen Maloney, a Naperville Dairy Queen owner and operator and avid golfer, in honor of one of her former employees, Jonathan Kaden, who died by suicide in 2011.

Maloney was unable to make it to this year’s event due to a struggle with cancer, but the golf outing was able to go on through the help of the community, and friends like Kelly Johnson, who took over as event coordinator this year, and whose son worked alongside Kaden at the Dairy Queen.

“It is really healing; so many people, just the months of planning has put me in touch with some amazing people, who have started to heal from their children’s loss that has happened years and years ago,” said Johnson.

The outing boasts all manner of auctions, raffles and golf competitions, with the proceeds going to raise awareness of mental health through the organization “Hope For The Day,” which has earmarked the money made from the event for education in the DuPage County community.

“Mental health is really difficult for a lot of people to talk about because it’s so stigmatized,” said Gracie Ann Fischer, education team member with ‘Hope For The Day.’ “And that stigma is what ultimately can really stop people from getting the treatment that they need if they are struggling with mental health issues.”

Golfers could also donate to the cause with the purchase of a small yard sign; a friendly reminder that “It’s okay, not to be okay.”

And even though the stigma around mental health issues still stands, there are those who are working to start the conversation, to start a discussion – one Dilly Bar at a time.

Reported by Peter Medlin, for Naperville News 17.