Community keeps believing for Britton; $18K raised in one night

Sommer Shipp holds her son's hand as he lies in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of "Our Boy Britt" blog, St. George News

ST. GEORGE – Fundraising efforts continue for the family of 16-year-old Britton Shipp, a Snow Canyon High School student who was involved in an ATV accident Nov. 1 and remains in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center.

Monday night, a benefit event took place at Snow Canyon High School in St. George to raise money for the Shipp family, and between $17,000-$18,000 has been raised as a result of the night’s efforts.

Attendees peruse silent auction items at a fundraiser for Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Tonya Horlacher, St. George News
Attendees peruse silent auction items at a fundraiser for Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Tonya Horlacher, St. George News

“Money is still coming in,” Denise Webster, a friend and neighbor of the Shipp family who helped organize the fundraiser, said.

The evening began with a benefit dinner that was originally planned to accommodate 200 people, Webster said, but presold ticket numbers climbed to 320, and a total of 350 guests attended in all. Others had to be turned away the night of the dinner because the food availability had reached its limit.

About $2,400 was raised through dinner ticket sales, Webster said, and a bake sale was also hosted during the dinner, raising approximately $1,100. Funds raised from a silent auction held that night totaled more than $10,000, with proceeds still coming in. A benefit show concluded the night.

Webster said she personally only approached one business about donating an item to the silent auction – the rest of the items flooded in as news of the auction spread through word of mouth.

“It was overwhelming,” she said. “I’ll bet I had at least a hundred items. It was crazy.”

Among the donated auction items were furniture pieces from local furniture stores; mountain bikes; gift baskets from various merchants; kitchen appliances; artwork; jewelry; quilts; salon and spa packages; gift certificates; and various sports-related items, including Utah Jazz tickets, Denver Broncos tickets and autographed sports equipment.

The Kalamity and Kaos dance group perform at a benefit show for Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Tonya Horlacher, St. George News
The Kalamity and Kaos dance group perform at a benefit show for Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Tonya Horlacher, St. George News

“We didn’t have enough room for everything,” Webster said. “Things were just crammed together on the tables. It was amazing.”

The benefit show that concluded the evening’s events was hosted in the Snow Canyon High School auditorium. Performers included dance group Kalamity and Kaos; singer Mikalene Ipson; and the Snow Canyon High School Eshelles, cheerleaders and Madrigals. The auditorium was filled to capacity, Webster said, and just under $3,000 was raised during the show.

“There was just a really, really huge turnout,” she said. “A lot of support, some amazing talents, and people were generous.”

The recommended donation to gain admission to the show was $5, Webster said, but many attendees were much more generous than that as they made their contributions to greeters at the door.

“People would give them hundreds and twenties,” Webster said.

Britton Shipp’s father and sister attended the show. A video tribute to Britton was shown, and a box of cash that had been collected so far that night – about $13,000 – was presented to the family members.

“We announced all the totals from what we had earned that night, and we presented them with a box full of money,” Webster said. “It was awesome.”

A fundraiser for the family of Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Denise Webster, St. George News
A fundraiser for the family of Britton Shipp at Snow Canyon High School, St. George, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Denise Webster, St. George News

Britton’s mother, a cosmetologist by profession, has had to leave work since her son’s accident, and the hospital bills are already monumental for the family as Britton remains on life support and has undergone multiple surgeries.

Britton’s father spoke to the crowd at the benefit and expressed his gratitude for all the support the family has received.

“It was really tender,” Webster said.

The evening didn’t end with the conclusion of the benefit show – the Shipp family had a surprise waiting for them when they arrived home that night.

Last week, a neighbor contacted a company that specializes in holiday decorating, Webster said, hoping to have the Shipp family’s home decorated green and white in honor of Britton, who is a member of the Snow Canyon High School football team. The bid for the job ended up being about $1,700, though, Webster said, so the plan was abandoned. However, the president of the decor company later saw a television news broadcast about Britton and offered to decorate the family’s entire house for free.

“He ended up doing a $2,600 package, all completely donated,” Webster said.

When members of the Shipp family arrived home Monday night, they were greeted by the sight of green-and-white decorations lighting up their entire house – even the roof, which has such a steep pitch that the family has never been able to hang lights from it, Webster said.

“It was just kind of the coolest ending to such an awesome day for them,” she said.

Many other community fundraisers for the family have been hosted, are in the works or are ongoing.

The Shipp family's home decorated green and white in honor of their son, Santa Clara, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Denise Webster, St. George News
The Shipp family’s home decorated green and white in honor of their son, Santa Clara, Utah, Nov. 10, 2014 | Photo courtesy of Denise Webster, St. George News

Local gyms have done Zumba fundraisers and spin-a-thons, a benefit concert was held, and a local salon recently hosted a haircut cut-a-thon.

On Friday, Atkin Draperies, located at 374 Industrial Road in St. George, is hosting a parking lot garage sale from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with proceeds benefiting the Shipp family.

A coed softball tournament to benefit the Shipps is planned for Nov. 22, location to be determined. The cost to participate will be $250 per team or $25 per player. To sign up, call 435-770-3707.

Community members can also donate to the family through the “Believe for Britton” GoFundMe page, which, at the time of this publication, has amassed almost $40,000. Donations can also be deposited directly to the Britton Shipp account at any Zions Bank location.

Believe4Britton wristbands are still being sold at Swig, located at 989 E. Tabernacle in St. George, and local high school students have been selling T-shirts, which can be ordered online here.

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2014, all rights reserved.

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1 Comment

  • Koolaid November 25, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Why no multiple articles soliciting fund raisers for those 7 kids who wrecked their car while joyriding? Are they not equally worthy of fundraisers?

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