Believe for Britton: Fundraisers planned for Snow Canyon teen in coma; prayer vigil held

Football players line up to sign a jersey to be presented to the family of Britton Shipp, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Community members are uniting in an outpouring of love, prayers and support for 16-year-old Britton Shipp and his family as the Snow Canyon High School football player lies in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center following an ATV accident that occurred Saturday. Rival schools have even set aside their differences to show support for their fellow athlete, and a few local schools, as well as friends of the Shipp family, have planned fundraisers, taking place this coming week, to help the family with what may be a long road of medical expenses ahead.

A crowd gathers at the Snow Canyon High School football stadium for a "break the fast" event after a day of prayer and fasting for Britton Shipp, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News
A crowd gathers at the Snow Canyon High School football stadium for a “break the fast” event after a day of prayer and fasting for Britton Shipp, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News

“There are going to be some big medical bills,” Denise Webster, a friend and neighbor of the Shipp family, said.

Shipp was participating in a group activity prior to Snow Canyon High School’s Sadie Hawkins dance Saturday when he and his date, a 15-year-old Snow Canyon student, crashed while riding in a Polaris RZR side-by-side all-terrain vehicle in Pine Valley. Shipp was taken by Life Flight to Dixie Regional Medical Center in critical condition with a severe skull fracture; his date was taken to DRMC by ambulance and has since reportedly been released from the hospital.

Shipp has already undergone two surgeries – the second took place at approximately 3 a.m. Sunday – and medical personnel are monitoring him for responsiveness.

“The doctor’s been awesome,” Webster said. “I don’t think he’s gone home and slept at all.”

On Sunday, friends, relatives, members of the Shipp family’s LDS church ward, students from Snow Canyon High and other local schools, and people throughout the St. George community united in a day of fasting and prayer for Shipp. Sunday afternoon, a crowd gathered at the Snow Canyon High School football stadium for a “break the fast” ceremony and group prayer.

“It was really neat. Hopefully it was healing,” Webster said. “For that one boy that was there (when the accident happened), it was extremely traumatic.”

The boy she referred to, one of Shipp’s friends, was present when the accident happened and helped Shipp and his date as they waited for emergency responders to arrive. Shipp’s friend spoke at the break-the-fast vigil, along with one of Shipp’s football coaches; another coach offered a prayer for the assembled crowd.

Football players line up to sign a jersey to be presented to the family of Britton Shipp, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News
Football players line up to sign a jersey to be presented to the family of Britton Shipp, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News

Fellow football team members signed Shipp’s No. 9 jersey at the event to be presented to his family, Webster said.

Webster said as she was descending the bleacher steps at the conclusion of the event, she saw a group of teens wearing Pine View High School baseball jerseys who had attended the ceremony.

“I just think it’s really classy that so many of the other teams are coming together to show their support,” Webster said.

Sunday night, following the prayer meeting, members of the Desert Hills High School football team, followed by members of the Dixie High School football team, visited the hospital to show their support for Shipp and his family.

Various fundraisers are in the works to help the Shipp family during this time. On Monday, Snow Canyon High School will host “Miracle Monday” for Shipp. Snow Canyon students are being asked to wear their Sunday best to school, Webster said, and there will be a “miracle minute” during first period, at which time students will be able donate money to help the Shipp family.

Dixie High School, Pine View High School and Desert Hills High School will raise funds for the Shipps during this weekend’s football games, Webster said. Buckets will be passed around at the games for attendees to place donations in.

“People going to the games, just be generous and take some extra change, and that would be awesome,” Webster said.

A family friend has also set up a GoFundMe page for the Shipp family that immediately got a very positive response, Webster said.

“Within just a few minutes they were up to $390 or something like that,” she said.

St. George area coaches gather in support of the Shipp family, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News
St. George area coaches gather in support of the Shipp family at the Snow Canyon High School football stadium, St. George, Utah, Nov. 2, 2014 | Photo by Denise Webster, St. George News

At the time of this publication, the donation page has amassed more than $5,600 for the Shipp family within a nine-hour time frame.

“It’s just tremendous,” Webster said.

A bracelet fundraiser is also in the works. “Believe4Britton” wristbands are being made and will be sold beginning Wednesday afternoon at Swig, located at 989 E. Tabernacle in St. George, to raise money for the Shipp family. (See ed. note)

Other fundraisers are also in the works. Updated information can be found on the “Believe4Britton” Facebook page as details become available.

As of Sunday night, Webster said, there was a bit of positive news regarding Shipp’s condition.

“His vitals have kind of stabilized a little better, which is good,” she said.

As soon as the swelling begins to lessen inside Shipp’s head, an MRI can be conducted to get more information and help physicians better assess his condition, she said.

Shipp’s family and friends invite continued prayers from the community on his behalf as they continue to watch and wait.

“(Praying) is what we can do right now,” Webster said.

“They’re just so grateful for what everybody’s doing,” she added.

Ed. note: Newly received details added about wristband fundraiser.

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30 Comments

  • Me November 3, 2014 at 1:55 am

    I love small town communities. We engage in local high school sports and support our teams. However, when there is a local high school tradegy, we put aside the rivalry and come together as a COMMUNITY . Our prayers are with you the Shipp family. God bless! We are here for you.

  • Think November 3, 2014 at 8:43 am

    I don’t want to be a downer about the situation and it’s very sad, but the parents supplied the ATV’s for the kids to ride for their date, but didn’t provide proper protection gear or helmets? or the kids didn’t wear them?

    You wouldn’t let your son go play football without a helmet? so why would you let them go drive a powerful machine without one?

    Situation could have been avoided.

    • Thought about it already........ November 3, 2014 at 10:58 am

      Before our era of litigation, the scenario and things you said were never discussed or thought of because sometimes accidents just happen.
      And in this case, it was an accident. It’s sad that someone was seriously hurt too. Sometimes it’s just too easy to play the blame game, but it doesn’t ever help the situation.

    • Just Sayin' November 3, 2014 at 11:04 am

      @think-

      I’m so glad you posted to enlighten us all by stating the obvious! I don’t think anyone thought this “Situation could have been avoided” or “the kids didn’t wear them” until you shared all your knowledge. You are a downer!

      Why can’t you just let a positive article regarding a bad situation, be that, Positive? Oh, I know, cause there is always that jerk in the crowd that has never made a mistake, and you, are the jerk today!

      The accident happened, it can’t be undone, regardless of how many people say they should have had their seat belts and helmets on. There will be a lifetime of accountability to come for all involved. Why don’t you just go to the fundme page and donate $20 to the cause and help with the situation instead of attacking people at the hardest time in their lives?

    • Magic November 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

      Sell the RZR to pay for the medical expenses. Selling it will teach a valuable lesson to someone not mature enough to practice safety while operating it and prevent said kid from having another accident with it.

    • OLD SCHOOL November 3, 2014 at 5:11 pm

      AS IF PARENTS HAVE 100% CONTROL OVER THEIR CHILDREN…..KIDS WOULD HAVE JUST TAKEN HELMETS OFF LATER. EVERYONE THINKS IT WILL NOT HAPPEN TO ME. IT IS THE KIDS FAULT..NOT THE PARENTS.
      PLUS UTAH HAS A NO HELMET LAW FOR ADULTS SO WHAT IS THIS SAYING TO OUR KIDS. DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO? KIDS THINK THEY ARE GROWN UP AT 12 THESE DAYS. THEY ARE HAVING SEX, DOING DRUGS ETC. THIS GENERATION IS ENTITLED AFTER ALL & SPOILED, THEY HAVE NO RESPECT. AND YES I HAVE KIDS THIS AGE…ACCIDENTS HAPPEN.

  • The Rest Of The Story November 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

    “Snow Canyon High School football player”
    That explains a lot.

  • Bender November 3, 2014 at 11:18 am

    My heart aches for any parent in situation. I hope it ends well.
    .
    I gotta wonder, can most people that buy these expensive toys afford them? RZR retails at $20k. That’s a good start on a college education at a state school. It’s a year or two of health insurance for a family. It’s almost the cost of a new midsize sedan. It’s about enough to send two kids on a mission. Once you’ve bought one ATV, you’re gonna need one or more extra for the rest of the family, a trailer to transport it and a full-size truck/SUV to pull it. There are a lot of adults making sketchy financial decisions to indulge in an expensive hobby that they are no where near capable of being able to responsibly afford.
    .
    Whether or not children can safely operate these expensive crotch rockets is probably the more important question.

    • The Rest Of The Story November 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm

      I hope so as well. But this kind of community outpouring is not very common when it’s not the star jock of a high school football team, or a popular cheerleader. And there is so much talk of why younger generations are going wrong. It’s the parents setting the bad examples.

    • Brooke November 4, 2014 at 12:19 am

      I don’t care how much a RZR costs my nephew is priceless & cannot be replaced. How dare you leave a comment like this & You to bring up the value of a RzR,Insurance&financial stuff (STUFF THAT DOESN’T MATTER)DO U HAVE NO SOUL?YOU CAN’T PUT A PRICE TAG ON BRITTY, BECAUSE HE’S PRICELESS & HIS LIFE IS WHAT MATTERS NOT NO RZR, OR ATV, OR ANY MATERIALISTIC THING FOR THAT MATTER! BRITTON IS IRREPLACEABLE & WE ALL LOVE HIM VERY MUCH!!!

      • The Rest Of The Story November 4, 2014 at 11:24 am

        Everybody thinks their nephew or son or daughter or whomever is priceless. Get a grip, lady. This is a public forum where ideas are discussed. If you can’t handle it, then perhaps don’t go on the internet.

      • Bender November 4, 2014 at 12:57 pm

        No offense intended to your nephew BROOKE, I hope he heals. Bender respectfully submits that anonymous comments posted to a newspaper website are not the place to be looking for comfort. You best stick to FaceBook.
        .
        However…. this is the perfect time and place for the rest of us to examine the accident and perhaps modify our behavior to prevent the same thing from happening to our loved ones. My God does not strike down beautiful young kids in the prime of life. These injuries had a human cause and were, in all likelihood, preventable.

        • Brooke November 4, 2014 at 11:39 pm

          Sorry your ignorance & disrespectful comments are not even worth reading so no need to reply. Oh by the way my family & friends we all support & comfort each other jackass

          • rude brood November 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm

            Get a grip Brooke. I won’t support him now because you’re such a “b”. Grow up and realize that people have the right to question the stupidity of kids. He should have worn a helmet. End of Story

  • Magic November 3, 2014 at 11:46 am

    Magic underwear provides inadequate head protection. Wear a helmet instead. It’s tragic when it takes a bad accident to get that point across.

    • MickeyD November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      But they are a protection from being an idiot. @Magic, maybe you need to get a pair.

    • OLD SCHOOL November 3, 2014 at 5:13 pm

      WOW THAT IS REALLY RUDE…BUT I AM SURE YOU ARE TO IGNORANT TO BE ASHAMED.

    • The Rest Of The Story November 3, 2014 at 10:19 pm

      He wasn’t old enough to have magic underwear yet. You don’t get them until you get ordained to “Elder” at age 18. Most 18 yr olds are not ordained unless they are getting married in the temple or going on a mission.

      • Brooke November 4, 2014 at 11:21 pm

        Wow your comments are sickening you should be ashamed of yourself!!!

  • Rose November 3, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Obviously you know nothing about the lds faith Magic because kids his age don’t wear “magic underwear” or know as garments. And how rude of you is that all the good you have to say about a boy in accident. Where has the world come to where people have no love and compassion in their hearts for others just because they have a different belief or life style. And if you are going to claim that Mormons impose their beliefs on others and or discriminate against others that is a person not the whole church. There is people in all religions and races that’s make mistakes and represent it poorly. But behind all the differences we have we are all people. Imagine if this boy was your own. We can all say this is the reason and point fingers and put the blame on things but what good is that going to do it already happened. I bet you the parents are thinking of all of the should of could of would ofs. It’s the late all we can do is support and love those who’s hearts are troubled.

    • Magic November 3, 2014 at 4:09 pm

      I probably am not the only person with grievances with the magic underwear clan of that area or how they act as if their children do absolutely no wrong while treating the children of others as lesser beings. In another thread, someone talked of these kids’ ATV experience. Did that experience include wearing helmets? Isn’t it a law for teenagers to wear helmets while operating ATVs? I hope the boy recovers and learns a valuable safety lesson with his error.

  • Believe November 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Believe that the best will work out for these families. Doesn’t matter the out come as long as you believe in the plan. If some of you readers don’t believe in the plan. This accident is the time to start believing. As for some you won’t, we will miss you. Some will we welcome you. Some will loose faith. But now is the time to believe. Thank you southern utah for the positive influence you are to the rest of the world.

  • Think November 3, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Maybe I am the Jerk for the day as posted above, but I do have compassion for the family like my post said it’s very sad, but I do like that my post started some conversation and hopefully by that. Parents and children can learn from others mistakes and wear the proper protection gear while operating powerful machines. Future accidents possibly avoided?

  • Zonkerb November 3, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Just make sure you don’t have a dance as a fund raiser because the St George swat team will come and put a stop to it

  • Renob November 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I’ve hope this family can forgive the folks that make the inappropriate comments during a trying time. But as we all know the weak have free agency and we must let them prove who they, and what they are, and what they believe in by their comments. That way they can be judged justly. Please forgive them.

  • bornandraisedSG November 3, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Let’s all ask that this kid comes out of this ok. Stop the banter about religion, dancing, and please ask those JA’s with nothing else to do than make disrespectful comments to shelf it for a while. As I am a local born and raised citizen of this great town and non LDS, I have seen this place do great things and reach out to families like this pain. I am a out spoken hard a$& in most cases but love where I live and MOST of the people here. Stop the talk about dancing, seatbeltz, the cost of a RZR and appreciate that this isn’t you. No person can say this couldn’t happen to me.

    Please stop for a second and help this family in such a difficult time.

  • The Locomotive November 3, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    It is really great to see how well the community comes together in times. I think that sometimes we take for granted the wonderful friends and neighbors that we have around us. God bless the poor young man in this tragedy and God bless all the people in the community who helped out and were great supporters. Thank you St. George for being such great examples to all of us. Keep Mr. Shipp in our prayers.

  • Redrock lover November 3, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    I hope this boy recovers- my son, who isn’t a “popular jock” told me this boy is very nice and friendly. My son (who does need friends) considers Britton a friend. Sounds like he is a great person who is friendly and kind to some of the underdogs at Snow Canyon- and that is why so many people are concerned about him.

  • Koolaid November 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

    Where was the outpouring of sympathy and fundraisers for the young girl who was assaulted by three boys in Santa Clara? Seemed the sympathy was for the boys, not the girl. They must have been some football players, right?

  • Zonkerb November 6, 2014 at 2:47 am

    Santa Clara.? Can they dance in Santa Clara….. Just wondering St George is a dance free zone

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