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Thursday vigil marked the birthday of Cheslie Kryst

The Charlotte native died at the age of 30 in January. She was an attorney and former Miss USA.

FORT MILL, S.C. — The family of the Cheslie Kryst celebrated her with a public vigil and balloon release Thursday in honor of what would have been her 31st birthday.

The event was open to the public and was held from 7-8 p.m. at the Fort Mill High School football stadium, located at 225 Munn Road E. in Fort Mill.

Kryst's family and loved ones shared their favorite memories of Kryst at the vigil. 

"It didn’t matter your age, your religion, your race… she accepted you," one woman said. 

As the sun set over the Fort Mill High School football stadium, her name was lifted high, mirrored by the sights of balloons in the air. 

"I will never stop mentioning your name," another woman said.

Kryst was a Charlotte native crowned Miss USA in 2019. She worked closely with the community including the Charlotte-based Dress for Success.  

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"Cheslie was one of the most effervescent people I ever met… she was always positive, she was always ready to take on the next task," Kerry Barr O'Connor, the executive director of Dress for Success, told WCNC Charlotte previously.

Dress for Success has now created the Cheslie Kryst Woman's Advancement Fund to support more ladies in their employment journey. 

Wake Forest University has also created the Cheslie Kryst Diversity and Social Justice Law Scholarship.

Kryst was an attorney who fought for social justice and was also a host on the syndicated entertainment news show "Extra."

She died in New York City on Jan. 30 at the age of 30.

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If you or a loved one are facing thoughts of suicide or self-harm, there is help readily available. You can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or chat with them online. There are also resources in North Carolina available here and in South Carolina available here.

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