Cheer community shows support for family and friends of girl killed in 4th of July parade
Cheerleaders line up to honor Macie Ann Hill during her funeral procession in Layton on Saturday. Hill was the young cheerleader who died of her injuries after being run over during a parade. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
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LAYTON — About 1,000 cheerleaders stretched for half a mile along Fairfield Road in Layton on Saturday as they waited to pay their respects to a member of the cheerleading family.
Cheerleading teams of all levels came out to show their support for the family and friends of Macie Anne Hill, an 8-year-old cheerleader who died after an accident during a July 4 parade. She was taken to hospital in critical condition after the accident at 175 S. Main in Kaysville. She later died of her injuries.
A group of cheerleaders from Mac’s All Star Cheer in Layton, a sister organization of the Farmington organization in which Macie was involved, had tears in their eyes after the procession as they spoke about the impact of this tragedy on them.
They said it was amazing to be part of the long line of cheerleaders and they felt like part of a big family.
“We are all there for each other, whether or not we compete against each other. We all love each other no matter where we cheer for each other, who cheers for each other, what level we are at (or) how old we are” , said Londyn Isbell.
Isbell, 17, is a cheerleader in the Mac’s program, but is also a coach. She said her students were around the same age as Macy’s.
“Not only are they like my kids, because I train them, but they’re all like our little sisters and they all look up to us, so it’s really crazy that this happened to someone so young. t’s a big happy family, so the fact that this happened to one of us is really devastating,” Isbell said.
Invite the cheerleaders
Jill Schofield, cheer coach at Fremont High School, said one of her students’ mothers reached out to organize the event because the mother wanted to do something to help. Schofield said she’s seen the cheering community come together many times when cheerleaders have died or been involved in accidents. She said things like this are dark and special, and will be something cheerleaders will never forget.
“There’s not a coach on the planet who signs up to help, you know, 30+ teammates, kids, deal with the death of a teammate. Nobody signs up for that and nobody the sign. There’s no manual,” Schofield said. . “But one of the best things children, well all of us, can do is to serve, to love or to support.”
She hopes this demonstration will help Macie’s family see that they are loved and see that there are others who have experienced similar tragedies to cheer them on from the sidelines.
Schofield said all it takes is a small gesture to show someone cares.
She said news of the tragedy spread quickly through her cheering squad and people wanted to help. They had so much reaction to an initial flyer inviting people to join that they changed the location to allow more people to hang out on the street. The cheerleaders wanted to do something to help another member of the cheerleading community.
“There’s something special in the heart of a cheerleader. I mean, everyone has cheerleaders in their life – their parents, their friends, their neighbors. … Not cheerleaders. cheerleaders who wear skirts, but cheerleaders who have a good heart,” Schofield said.
Affect the community of joy
Jalyn Linkletter and Sierra Tracy, cheer coaches for Mac’s All Star at Draper, said the cheerleading community is very strong and it was humbling to see all the support from so many cheerleaders on Saturday.
“It was really devastating to hear the news…we have so many 8-year-olds in our program, this could have been one of ours. So it hit very close to home,” Tracy said. .
Tracy said teaching joy is everything to her, she has been doing it for about nine years and the kids on her team are like her own kids.
Linkletter said this tragedy is very relevant for families, coaches and children. They heard about Wednesday’s support event and received many responses from their daughters and mothers who wanted to come. She said they were carpooling and about 100 of their girls came from all over the Salt Lake Valley.
Many groups raised their arms in greeting as the funeral procession passed.
A funeral for Macie was held at a Kaysville stake center for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Saturday afternoon. The girls in their cheerleading outfits and team bows from Macie and their families filled many of the front rows at the funeral.
Macie’s grandparents, an aunt and her father spoke of Macie’s unique personality funeral and how she completed their family, after three older brothers. They also talked about how their faith and the support of the community are helping them during a difficult time.
Her father, Mark Hill, explained how Macie would wake them up by doing cartwheels and lapel springs in their room after opening the door. He said joy was where Macie’s heart was.
He said the support from the community, the world and those close to him has been overwhelming.
“I am eternally grateful,” he said.
He said his daughter always wanted to be the first, and now she is the first in heaven.
Donny Osmond, who was introduced as Macie’s friend, sang “To Where You Are” at the funeral. He explained that he met Macie when she and an older brother brought him a trophy after he got second place as a peacock on the TV show “The Masked Singer.”
“I walked away as a winner, when you gave me this, and I thought how fitting that thought was for this moment because we are all winners in our Heavenly Father’s plan of life…we we’re all winners and we can come back to him.” said Osmond.