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Editor’s Note: This story is about suicide. If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Kailia Posey’s family and friends celebrate the life of the late “Toddlers and Tiaras” star.
On Saturday, loved ones gathered at North County Christ the King Church in Lynden to commemorate Posey, who was streamed live on the church’s website.
Posey’s stepfather, Steve Gatterman, announced the event on Facebook Friday. “It’s going to be a celebration full of photos, videos and stories about how she touched so many hearts in such a positive way,” he wrote. “There will also be a few surprises that are pure Kailia…”
A large crowd gathered and more than 700 people virtually took part to commemorate the pageant through photos, videos and personal memories of Posey. The service concluded with a reception and a selfie booth in honor of Posey’s “love of selfies.”
‘TODDLERS AND TIARAS’ STAR KAILIA POSEY DEAD AT 16, SAYS FAMILY
Posey’s brother, Jayden Kai, was among those who spoke at her memorial. He held back the tears as he remembered encouraging her at parades, just as she supported him at his football games. Jayden shared with the crowd that he recently comforted Posey when she was sad.
“I just wanted her to know she had someone and that I was always there for her,” he said.
Posey’s cause of death and manner of death was confirmed Wednesday by the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office in a press release shared online.
The 16-year-old election star died of “suffocation as a result of hanging the ligature and the manner in which is suicide,” authorities said.
Posey’s mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, posted about her daughter’s death on Facebook last week.
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“I have no words or thoughts,” she wrote. ‘A beautiful girl has disappeared. Please give us privacy as we mourn the loss of Kailia. My baby forever.’
Since Posey’s shocking death, her community has launched a GoFundMe campaign that surpassed the original goal of $15,000 raised to help fund funeral expenses.
Some of the late teen’s friends began selling clothes in her honor at their high school after the launch of the “Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund.” This fund was established to help other students in need.
“Trying to find the beauty in ashes is hard when you’re 16 and processing something like this. Especially when it’s your best friend, your person,” reads the foundation page.
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“We want these hoodies to represent her light. Her life. And her joy. We also want to bring awareness that THERE IS LIGHT, even if you don’t feel it. Help is one olive branch away. olive branch, and don’t be afraid to give it if need be from someone else.”