Family spreads hope after death of East Lansing student


HOLT, MI (WLNS) – It’s an emotional time for Heather Zaban as she tries to share the message she says, her daughter taught her.

“She wanted to make a difference in the world she didn’t understand, she didn’t understand why everybody couldn’t just love each other and care about each other, despite their differences.” Heather Zaban Sydney’s mother said.

In fact, just two days before Sydney took her own life in January, according to her mom Sydney wrote down a list of goals; to make 10 thousand people smile, save 5 lives, and change the world.

Sydney Zaban was a freshman at East Lansing High School.

Her family, and friends tell Six News she was a kind and caring 15 year old, who was training to become a camp counselor.

But despite her happy exterior, according to her mom, her daughter struggled with bullies in the past.

So they hosted the event “For Sydney’s Sake” with the hope of promoting love and anti-bullying.

“I feel that, that as her mother, it is my, duty to carry out her message.” Zaban said.

According to Zaban, Sydney was intentionally kind to every-one. Zaban has hopes to continue her daughter’s legacy, spreading a message of hope “For Sydney’s Sake” on bracelets, t-shirts and valentines.

“We want to set an action and a movement in the greater Lansing area, so it’s more than just anti-bullying, it’s more of a call to action to be nice, be kind and share love and kindness with everyone you meet. ” family friend and event organizer, Paula Caltrider said.

“She was a loving person, so having like Valentine’s day for Sydney that made sense to me.” long-time babysitter, Olivia Hoffmeyer said.

According to Zaban, this is just the first step toward honoring her daughter’s life, and she plans to continue to be an advocate pushing students to “be nice and be kind for Sydney’s sake”

Tragically Sydney isn’t the only East Lansing high school student to recently take her own life.

According to others at the event, another female freshman student committed suicide just 12 days ago.

And while there’s nothing clear connecting the two cases, Zaban wants to tell parents to dig deeper into their child’s life and communicate with them regularly.

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