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Parkland Community Mourns Over Shooting Survivor Sydney Aiello's Suicide

Parkland Community Mourns Over Shooting Survivor Sydney Aiello's Suicide
In Loving Memory of Sydney Aiello/GoFundMe

In February 2018, Sydney Aiello survived the massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

The shooting galvanized the student body and gun reform advocates around the nation, and the push for comprehensive gun control legislation has been stronger than ever.

But even as hashtags trended, even as her classmates launched the March for Our Lives campaign and took on politicians in Washington, Sydney, like many survivors of traumatic events, suffered in silence.

She had lost her best friend, Meadow Pollack, in the shooting and had never recovered. She never asked for help and struggled to attend college classes.

And more than a year later, over the weekend, Sydney took her own life.

Her mother, Cara Aiello, told CBS Miami that Sydney suffered from survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in the year following the shooting. She died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

A GoFundMe page has been set up in Sydney's honor to help her parents cover funeral expenses.

The page reads:

"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."

Tributes have also poured in from around the nation, including from Sydney's classmates, such as advocate David Hogg, who also survived the shooting.

Exposure to "death around you does to some small degree raise the risk of suicide," says Dr. Victor Schwartz, chief medical officer at The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit that monitors teenagers and young adults to prevent suicide.

He added:

"It stands to reason that there is some increased risk around the survivor guilt. Parkland students have done an incredible job being out there and advocating for gun safety, but the sadness and distress are still there. I'm sure many of these students are still struggling with symptoms that look like PTSD. And how could they not be?"

Our thoughts are with Sydney's family and friends during this heartbreaking time.

The GoFundMe page for Sydney can be found here.