Classmates of Nicole Hilton to hold benefit to raise money, mental health awareness following suicide attempt

Photo by ThitareeSarmkasat/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — The classmates of St. George resident Nicole Hilton have organized a benefit dinner and raffle on Saturday evening to raise funds for her medical expenses and awareness about mental health. 

The event features more than $4,000 worth of silent auction and raffle prizes. All of the proceeds will be donated directly to Hilton’s family. 

On the morning of Oct. 7, Hilton attempted to take her own life by jumping from a precipice of Webb Hill above the Bloomington Hills area. She was transported to Dixie Regional Medical Center in critical condition.

According to a GoFundMe campaign organized by her family, Hilton remains in the intensive care unit recovering from injuries “too many to name.” The fall broke nearly every major bone in her body, including her spine in multiple places, and ruptured several organs. She will likely be paralyzed from the waist down. 

Derick Legg, owner of Southern Utah Safe & Vault and one of Hilton’s classmates from the Pine View High School graduating class of 2007, said he learned about her crisis through social media and knew he needed to take action. A group of her classmates – several of whom are area business owners – got together and brainstormed ways to support her family, ultimately settling on hosting a fundraising dinner. 

Family members visit Nicole Hilton at Dixie Regional Medical Center, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo courtesy of Derick Legg, St. George News

“Everything we’re raising goes straight to the family,” Legg said.

The benefit event for Hilton will be held Saturday from 5-8 p.m. at the TwentyFive Main café and cupcake parlor in downtown St. George. Admission is $15 and includes a dinner of chicken Alfredo with salad and garlic bread; raffle tickets are available for $1 each. Legg said an RSVP on the “Dinner and raffle for Nicole Hilton” event Facebook page would be appreciated but is not required to attend.

Silent auction items include a gun safe donated by Southern Utah Safe & Vault, an engagement ring valued at $1,100 provided by Discount Pawn, a two-night stay with Red Rock Vacation Rentals and a Camp Chef smoker from Dixie Gun & Fish, a doggie boot camp $500 value package from Unleased Pet Resort, along with more than 20 raffle prizes. Another of Hilton’s classmates designed T-shirts bearing both her personal motto “There WILL Be Miracles” and “Nicole Strong,” which will be sold for $15 each. 

A live stream will be available on the event’s Facebook page for those unable to attend in person. Participants do not need to be present to win silent auction or raffle prizes aside from the gun safe, Legg said. 

Nicole Hilton, location and date not specified | Photo courtesy of Derick Legg, St. George News

Legg requests that attendees purchase tickets with cash or via Venmo to avoid processing fees and to funnel more money directly to the Hilton family, though credit cards will be accepted. Additional donations can be made through GoFundMe

Hilton is described by her family as someone who always went out of her way to befriend and offer empathy to others, particularly those who felt marginalized or excluded. Her family chronicled the events of Oct. 7 and the following days in a YouTube video that has received numerous comments offering prayer and support, many of them from complete strangers.

Hilton is a creative writer whose blog, Healing with Christ, chronicles her struggles with mental health and surviving childhood trauma. Despite her emotional turmoil, she graduated from Pine View High School as the English Sterling Scholar and received a scholarship to Brigham Young University, where she graduated with a degree in English literature. She began publishing her thoughts two years ago with the hope of encouraging candid discussion about mental illness.

Barbara Hilton, Nicole’s mother, said that in the weeks since her daughter’s suicide attempt, the blog has received more than 55,000 views and hundreds of messages from people across the globe drawn to Nicole’s message of strength and faith, and their family wants to express “appreciation for the love and support that have been shown to us and would like to ask for continued prayers in Nicole’s behalf.”

“We are praying that even if she never walks again, that her mind will be healed from the emotional trauma she has suffered,” she said. 

Legg said that Nicole’s former classmates also want to help her with her mission of speaking  more freely about mental illness and “make it not be such a stigma and such a negative thing to talk about.”

Legg requested that everyone, whether they can contribute to Hilton’s recovery or not, help raise awareness of her story on social media using the hashtag #thereWILLbemiracles. 

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. Help is available 24/7. 

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

• S P O N S O R E D   C O N T E N T • 

Event details

  • What: Dinner and raffle for Nicole Hilton.
  • When: Saturday, Nov. 7, from 5-8 p.m.
  • Where: TwentyFive Main, 25 N. Main St., St. George.
  • Tickets: $15 for dinner; $1 per raffle entry.
  • Resources: Facebook.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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