On November 13, 2010, Stephanie Richardson and her husband, Luke, experienced a parent’s worst nightmare: the death of their child. At the age of 14, their daughter Daron took her own life. Stephanie and Luke Richardson summoned their strength and courage and decided to share their story in order to raise public awareness about youth mental health.
Daron’s friends and hockey teammates were also devastated, and they wanted to take action. Fast. They felt they needed to honour Daron, whom they loved for her smile, sunny disposition and positive outlook. And thus, Do it for Daron (DIFD) began to take shape. First, stickers were made, then bracelets and other objects that everyone could remember Daron by. The initiative quickly evolved into a youth mental health awareness campaign to help young people break their silence and seek the help and resources they needed to get better.
A community of friendship fuelled this project, backed unconditionally by Stephanie and Luke. DIFD aims to encourage children and adolescents to talk and confide in others. The movement also aspires to educate parents, teachers, coaches and all other adult models to demonstrate their openness and availability to youth, by initiating conversation or simply lending an ear. The purple heart, inspired by Daron’s favourite colour, has come to symbolize this impressive youth mental health movement.
To learn more about DIFD, whose hallmarks are optimism and hope, watch the Purple Hearts video