In Patti’s own words:
Peyton Heart Project Ambassador Essay: By Patti Dille
September 23rd, 2014 was an ordinary day but turned into a day that will forever be in my memory. I am a suicide loss survivor. I hate putting labels on people, but I now feel I own this one.
I lost my son, Matthew Ryan Dille, to suicide on September 26th, of 2014. Matt was funny, witty, smart and handsome. Behind Matt’s beautiful smile, his laughter and jokes, he hid his anxiety and depression. He suffered in silence and did not talk to others about his feelings or internal pain.
After I lost Matt, I felt I had to do more to help myself, my family and others. So, I became a member of The Montgomery County Suicide Prevention Taskforce and I became a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) trainer.
I do not know how I initially found out about The Peyton Heart Project. But, when I heard about it, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Not only do I know how to crochet, but I also lead a Stitch and Chat group at the library.
One of the first things I did was make some Peyton hearts and bring them to the Taskforce. I remember handing a Peyton heart out to everyone at this meeting. I shared my Matt story and told them about the Peyton Heart Project. Everyone loved them! I asked if I could incorporate them at the end of each of my QPR trainings. It was the perfect way of ending a difficult talk. I could offer kindness, hope and awareness to others.
The Taskforce gave me the title of Chair of the Kindness Committee. We began to have Peyton Heart Days. We would offer afternoons or evenings and ask others to make Peyton hearts or help tag them. I even created a felt heart for others to make if they could not crochet. I have personally been asked to attend many events i.e.; I have been to churches, suicide awareness/prevention events, Out of Darkness walks, behavioral health hospitals, college events through Active Minds and many more. Our task force was even allowed to put Peyton hearts around all 13 of the walking/bike trails in Montgomery County this September. September is National Suicide Prevention month, a perfect time to spread Peyton hearts. I have had the privilege of meeting Jill Kubin, The Peyton Heart Project founder, and Sue Harris, co-founder. I was thrilled when they made a special tag in memory of Matt for me. I always watch Facebook posts to see who is posting, their comments and where the Peyton hearts are found. It especially touches my heart when I see a heart that has a Matt Dille tag on it. I just had the pleasure of traveling to India and was able to leave some there. I am a full-time volunteer now who is passionate about The Peyton Heart Project! I would love to become a Peyton Heart Project ambassador. I have a small team of friends that helps me make Peyton hearts.
Volunteering has become the best thing to help me through my grief journey. It is my mission to help others in suicide awareness and prevention. I will continue to make Peyton hearts and spread the word about this wonderful kindness mission to offer kindness, hope, and suicide awareness throughout the world.