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Editor’s Note: This story is about suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Kailia Posey’s family and friends are celebrating the life of the late ‘Toddlers and Tiaras’ star.
On Saturday, family members gathered at North County Christ the King Church in Lynden to commemorate Posey, who was broadcast live on the church’s website.
Posey’s stepfather, Steve Gatterman, announced the event on Facebook on Friday. “It will be a celebration of photos, videos and stories of how she has 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 joined virtually to remember the pageant star through pictures, video and personal memories of Posey. The service ended with a reception and selfie booth in honor of Posey’s “love for selfies.”
TODDLERS AND TIARAS STAR KAILIA POSEY DEATH AT 16, SAYS THE FAMILY
Posey’s brother Jayden Kai was one of the people who spoke at her remembrance. He held back tears as he recalled cheering her on at pageants the way she cheered him on at his soccer games. Jayden shared with the crowd that he recently comforted Posey when she was sad.
“I just wanted her to know that she has someone and that I’m always there for her,” he said.
Posey’s cause of death and manner of death were confirmed Wednesday by the Whatcom County Medical Examiner’s Office in a news release posted online.
The 16-year-old pageant star died of “asphyxia due to ligatures and the manner is suicidal,” according to authorities.
Posey’s mother, Marcy Posey Gatterman, broke the news of her daughter’s death on Facebook last week.
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“I have no words or thoughts,” she wrote. “A beautiful girl has passed away. Please give us privacy as we mourn Kailia. My baby forever.”
Since Posey’s shocking death, her community has launched a GoFundMe campaign that has surpassed her original goal of $15,000 raised to help fund funeral expenses.
Some of the late teen’s friends began selling clothes in her high school honor after they created the Kailia Posey Teen Crisis Intervention Fund. This fund was created as a resource to help other students in need.
“Trying to find the beauty in the ashes is hard when you’re 16 and processing something like that. Especially when it’s your best friend, your person,” the foundation says.
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“We want these hoodies to represent their light. your life. And her joy. We also want to raise awareness that THERE IS LIGHT, even if you don’t feel it. Help is just an olive branch away. Please make sure you always extend your olive branch, and don’t be afraid to reach out for someone else’s if necessary.”