Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes
LAYTON — "All smile. All colors. All energy."
That's how Ryan Dopp described Macie Hill, the 8-year-old girl killed by a vehicle during an Independence Day parade.
Dopp, bishop of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ward that Macie and her family attend, said the girl loved cheer — she was a flier on the Patriot Cheer All Stars team — and was the princess of her family, the youngest of four children.
Her father told Dopp that his one consolation is that she died doing what she loved: performing with her cheer squad.
"She was a light. She was a little ball of energy. She lit up a room, wherever she went," Dopp said.
Macie, who lived in Layton, was taken to a hospital in critical condition after the accident occurred at 175 S. Main in Kaysville. She later died from her injuries.
A candlelight vigil in Macie's honor was scheduled for 7 p.m. on July 5 at Patriot Cheer All Stars, 443 Deseret Drive, Suite A, in Kaysville.
Layton Mayor Joy Petro said Tuesday in a statement that Macie's loss "is felt so deeply by myself and our Layton community. This sweet little girl will forever be in our hearts and the joy she spread to all who knew her will never be forgotten."
A GoFundMe* page started by Dopp's wife, Jennie, had raised nearly $94,000 as of late Tuesday afternoon, well above its $50,000 goal.
The money will go toward funeral expenses, a headstone, medical bills and counseling for family members, the page states.
"Obviously that money is far more than they would need for a funeral," Dopp said, "but ... it can set up something very special in Macie's memory, that the family can do with that money to pay it forward."
Dopp said reports are conflicting, but Macie was trying to either get on or get off her cheer team's parade trailer when she became stuck under it.
The family is devastated, he said, and still in shock. One of the biggest things people can do for them is to give them space to grieve, he added.
"The mourning process is a process, and it's going to take years for them to ... feel healed," he said.
Patriot Cheer Gym posted a statement on Instagram on Tuesday, urging people to pray for Macie's family and donate to the GoFundMe account in her name.
"The Patriot Cheer Gym is devastated by the loss of one of our strong, amazing and inspiring athletes in this tragic accident. Macie's amazing attitude, hard work and dedication were inspiring to the girls both older and younger," the statement read in part. "Macie was beloved by her coaches for her positive attitude, teammates for constantly encouraging others to keep going, and her extended gym family by always having a smile on her face. Macie was everyone's friend, always welcoming new and old friends into the gym and to the sport she loved."
Grief counselors "will be made available to any of our cheer family who needs to talk," the statement said.
For now, the community has lined the Hills' street with pink ribbons — pink was Macie's favorite color — and set aside their differences.
"What I saw yesterday when the news of this came out was a community ... coming together and recognizing that individuals, the people who live next to them, are far more important than their politics," Dopp said.
He added that Macie's father has expressed concern for those who witnessed the accident, for the first responders and for "the people who didn't step back but stepped forward."
Macie's father has also expressed concern for the driver of the trailer, Dopp said.
"Here's a father who is less than 24 hours in the depths of grief that I've never witnessed who's expressing concern for others," he said. "(The Hills) are that type of people, who have love for those around them."
Contributing: Lindsey Aerts, Dan Rascon
*KSL.com does not assure that the money deposited to the account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit to the account, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.