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‘Metal for Life’ to be held in Eva Smith’s memory, raise money for suicide prevention

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CLIFTON — Late last year, we reported the suicide of Bloomfield High School sophomore Eva Smith, who was hit by a car after falling from a Garden State Parkway overpass in Nutley. A Facebook Live video by Eva’s father, local musician Ronstin Smith, went viral shortly thereafter. Now, a family friend is organizing a fundraiser that will take Ronstin’s passion for music and use it to help ease his and others’ pain.

The “Metal for Life” concert was developed, with Ronstin’s backing, by Laura Eye, who runs the promotional Facebook page New Jersey Metal. She’s calling it a “musical battle” against suicide.

Parkway suicide: Father shares pain of daughter's struggle

Proceeds will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a charity specifically selected by Ronstin, who is known as Aaron to his friends and plays with the New Jersey-based metal band Unkempt Herald.

“I just felt I needed to bring something positive from the tragedy, and hopefully help raise money to prevent others from feeling the pain the Smith family is feeling now,” Eye said.

The New Jersey chapter of AFSP has assisted Eye in planning the event. Among the ways AFSP endeavors to educate the public about suicide: conducting scientific research geared toward prevention, and providing grief counseling for affected families.

It was on that organization’s website that Eye uncovered a disturbing statistic which she said spurred her to decide to create the fundraiser.

“Suicide is the third leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 in New Jersey,” she said, citing numbers from the AFSP site. “Now, one is too many, but that number is way too high.”

Metal for Life will take place Saturday, April 22, at Dingbatz in Clifton. Doors open at 7 p.m., with the first band taking the stage at 8.

The bands, whose dedication Eye called “astounding,” are all donating their time and talents freely. All hail from New Jersey: Beyond the Void from Paramus, Dead City Crown from Clifton, The Donner Party from Bloomfield, Me With Creeps from Fort Lee, and Ocean of Illusions from Englewood.

Eye said anyone who can’t make it to the event can go to afsp.org to donate, or visit the Metal for Life event page on Facebook to find a link to donate directly in Eva Smith’s name.

And most importantly, if you or someone you know is in crisis, the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK.

Patrick Lavery produces “New Jersey’s First News” and is New Jersey 101.5’s morning drive breaking news reporter. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com.

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