Chloe Malfitano’s mother Wanda took her own life the day before Chloe turned 19.
Malfitano said that while in hindsight, she recognizes signs that her mother was struggling, her suicide came as a tragic surprise. Her mother, she said, always tried to be strong for her family and kept her inner conflict hidden.
“She seemed like any normal person,” Malfitano said of her mother Wanda. “She suffered her own demons. She had this darkness inside her that no one knew about.”
The Nutley native wants to help people let people who are feeling consumed by depression bring their feelings into the light.
Working as a hairdresser at Bloomfield’s Jag Salon, Malfitona has had opportunities to hear from people working through depression. Upbeat and effusive, Malfitona is grateful that people readily share their experience up to her.
“When I say I lost someone from suicide, that person will open up,” she said.
Jag Salon owner Jes Gichan said she is impressed by Malfitona's ability to find positivity in her personal tragedy.
“With Chloe, what I admire most about her is that she took a tragic thing and used it to reach out,” Gichan said.
With the help of her co-workers and family, Malfitano is looking to help raise money and awareness for suicide prevention on a larger scale. She is taking part in this year’s Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk in Washington, DC and she’s looking for the community’s support.
The June 1 walk, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, funds research, education, survivor and awareness programs for people in danger of committing suicide and to assist people affected by suicides of loved ones. The walk stretches out for 18 miles and lasts from dusk til dawn.
Each participant in the overnight walk pledges to raise $1,000. And by supporting her, you won’t just feel good. You’ll look good, too: Jag Salon is hosting a cut-a-thon event from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, May 19. The prices of haircuts for men and women have been dramatically discounted, with all of the proceeds supporting Malfitano’s walk. Call the salon at 973-281-9001 for information and prices.
And if you can’t make the Sunday event, join Malfitona and her family at Nutley’s Old Canal Inn at 7 p.m. May 23 for a night of fundraising.