Sydney Aiello, 19, who survived the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL, died by suicide last weekend, her mother told CBS Miami. Aiello was a recent MSD graduate who was close friends with Meadow Pollack, one of the students who died in the shooting.
“Sydney spent 19 years writing her story as a beloved daughter, sister, and friend to many,” reads a GoFundMe page set up in her honor. “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.”
Aiello’s mother, Cara Aiello, said that her daughter was on campus during the shooting but not in the freshman building, where the shooting happened. She said her daughter was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, and suffered from survivor’s guilt. She struggled to attend classes in college because she was afraid of being in a classroom, and she was often sad, but her mother said she did not ask for help.
Members of the community said it is an important time to remind young people that there are resources they can use to help. A group called Professionals United for Parkland works to connect the community with mental-health professionals. On April 1, the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) and United Way of Broward County (UWB) are planning to open Eagles’ Haven, a wellness center for the MSD community that will offer support groups for students and families, as well as yoga, meditation, and more, described as “a place for all of us to come together to rediscover wellness and restore hope.”