More than a year after Sydney Aiello lost 17 of her classmates and teachers during a shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, the 19-year-old has died by suicide.
Aiello's mother, Cara Aiello, told CBS Miami that her daughter struggled with survivor's guilty and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the year that followed the tragedy. The outlet reports that while Aiello never asked for help, she struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom. Cara said that she hopes Aiello's story can help save others struggling.
A GoFundMe campaign has been organized to help Aiello's parents and brother pay for her memorial services. On the page, it reads that "Sydney spent 19 years writing her story as a beloved daughter, sister and friend to many."
"She lit up every room she entered. She filled her days cheerleading, doing yoga, and brightening up the days of others. Sydney aspired to work in the medical field helping others in need. On March 17th, 2019 Sydney became the guardian angel to many. It was a privilege to have you in our lives. Sydney, we will miss you and always love you. May you find peace in His arms."
Aiello was close friends with Meadow Pollack, one of the students shot and killed during the February 2018 shooting. Meadow's father, Andrew, was one of the most outspoken parents when he delivered an emotional speech at the White House arguing for an increase in school safety rather than changes to America's gun laws.
Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in the shooting, told CBS Miami that he worries about more traumatized Parkland survivors, and has focused his grief and efforts into suicide prevention.
"It breaks my heart that we've lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas," Petty said. "My advice to parents is to ask questions, don't wait."
Petty said people need to ask questions to someone who might be considering suicide, like, “Have you thought of killing yourself and have you had any intention of acting on those thoughts?”
Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, president and CEO of the Children's Services Council of Broward County, said the Parkland tragedy proved that the stigma surrounding mental health and the inability to ask for help needs to change.
She told WMC-5 that it's important for parents to look for suicide warning signs, like their children hurting themselves or losing interest in important activities.
“Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help but maybe to take them to those resources,” Seltzer said.