P.S. I Love You Day brings a sea of purple to Long Island bringing awareness to suicide

WEST ISLIP, New York (WABC) -- During February across Long Island, a sea of purple can be found at schools and businesses in honor of P.S. I Love You Day.

P.S. I Love You Day is held on the every second Friday of February, created by Brooke DiPalma in honor of her passed father, a retired NYPD officer, who took his own life when she was 14-years-old.

"When I lost my dad it was a shock," said DiPalma. "It was a shock to my family, it was a shock to the community, and it was really a shock to me. He was my best friend, and to see what he did was simply not him. I was angry, I was frustrated, and I wanted to make a change."

DiPalma took the last three words her dad said to her, which was 'I love you' and with the help of her high school's class club and family, created P.S. I Love You Day.

"If he was here, he would want me to make a change he would want me to do something," said DiPalma.

In 2011, the first P.S. I Love You Day was held at West Islip High School, where students were encouraged to wear purple in support of DiPalma and hear her share her story at an assembly.

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"It shocked all of us to a degree just to see how she was able to take this tragedy that she experienced and turn it into such a great event," said Ed Jablonski, West Islip High School Student Senate Advisor. "It's something that you don't see from people who are twice her age, and for her to be able to lead and expand this as far as she has, it's amazing to see all the work she's been able to do. I always tell her she is an inspiration, and she really is."

Since then, P.S. I Love You Day became more than just an idea, but a movement where more than 200 schools across the nation have become involved participating in kindness activities and collecting donations going towards mental health non-profits.

"People who lost people to suicide years ago are now sharing their stories," said DiPalma. "I think that is the most profound impact is when someone comes up to my family and says, because of you, I shared my story."

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DiPalma hopes that people walking around their community, school, or work office and seeing a sea of purple will instantly lift their spirits.

The mission DiPalma aspires to achieve is that everyone feels special, loved, and reminded that you are never alone.

"For anyone struggling out there, the first thing you can do is acknowledge it, share it, and share your stories to others," said DiPalma. "It's not easy, but with time it will get better. "It's not going to happen overnight, but by writing down your goals, by setting goals for yourself in general, by knowing that there is going to be tomorrow, that's an amazing goal in itself."
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