Keira McGuire is a health reporter and multimedia producer for WITF and PA Post. She hosts and produces Transforming Health television programs as well as other shows and documentaries for WITF’s Original Productions. McGuire produced the Emmy Award winning series HealthSmart for the last ten years. Keira previously worked at WBFF in Baltimore and WMDT in Salisbury as a reporter and anchor. She’s a graduate of Towson University.
They may look like simple craft hearts, but they can carry a heavy message to someone who really needs it.
The tag on one heart reads “You are truly beautiful.” Another one reminds its recipient that their “journey will be worth it.” They’re part of the Peyton Heart Project, which arose from the loss of 13-year-old Peyton James who committed suicide after a history of being bullied by peers.
The Peyton Heart Project started in New Jersey and Texas but has spread nationwide and to other countries with individuals and groups making the hearts and scattering them for others to find. Hearts have been found in coffee shops, on playgrounds and even on the Great Wall of China.
It’s a project that Montgomery County’s Patti Dille had to be a part of. Patti lost her son Matthew Dille to suicide in 2014. He was 17. Patti says her Matt was funny and she believes he hid behind his humor. She says she did not see signs that he was considering suicide which is one reason she now works to spread awareness through the Peyton Heart Project.
Patti describes the Peyton Heart Project as a “kindness mission. Peyton Hearts. It’s a kindness mission and a mission of hope. It’s hoping to help other people in the community and also it’s a conversation starter.”
“I really truly feel people that are meant to get those hearts, get those hearts and take those hearts and it makes a difference. Tomorrow is a new day and there is hope.”
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 10 and 34, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
To make or spread Peyton Hearts, visit www.thepeytonheartproject.org.