Music video pays tribute to man who committed suicide in Markham Park

Family, friends of Weston college student hope to spread message through music

Image from http://www.dylansfoundation.org/gallery/
Image from http://www.dylansfoundation.org/gallery/ (http://www.dylansfoundation.org/gallery/)

WESTON, Fla. – On a warm summer evening, Weston's Markham Park was filled with laughter, love and floating lanterns. The tribute, videotaped from the ground and from the air, will soon be a scene in a professional music video.

The song was written for Dylan Schopp, the 21-year-old whom everyone called "Sunshine."

[RELATED: Dylan Schopp's Sunshine Foundation]

"There are tons of pictures, some of which are of him wrestling," Debbie Schopp said of her son. "He was always smiling. His wrestling coach gave him that name (Sunshine) because he came in, had long blonde hair, 93 pounds, with a big old smile on his face."

But behind that smile, Dylan was hiding a pain he didn't share. In February, the popular college student, who talked about being a sportscaster, who even shadowed at Local 10 News, took his own life in Markham Park. No one saw it coming.

But statistics show there is a suicide in the U.S. every 13 minutes. It's a leading cause of death among young people who are under all kinds of pressures.

"It's different today," Debbie Schopp said. "With Facebook and social media, everybody knows what everybody else is doing. It's not going to change."

That's why she and her husband, Dave Schopp, are hoping their story can be a wake-up call for other families.

"The word has to get out there," she said. "If it can happen to us -- to him -- it can happen to anybody."

The Schopps are not alone in their effort. Weston singer and songwriter Jake Miller, one of Dylan's close friends, was devastated when he heard the news.

"The first thing I did was get my guitar. I went outside and I wrote a little song for Dylan," Miller said.

That song, entitled "Sunshine," was released last week.

"He went and wrote that song that night," Debbie Schopp said. "His dad text it to me -- just the riff -- and it was touching. He has a great group of friends. He touched everybody."

Now family and friends are hoping to spread Dylan's sunshine through music to reach kids around the country struggling with depression or thinking about suicide.

"I don't even remember the last thing I said to him," Debbie Schopp said. "I wonder if there is something I could have said or could have been done. It eats at me, but I hope he's happy now."

Click here to visit Jake Miller's website.

Follow Kristi Krueger on Twitter @Kkrueger10

Follow Local 10 News on Twitter @WPLGLocal10

About the Author: