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'Shared your light with all of us' | Family of Cheslie Kryst holds public memorial at Charlotte church

A chance for family, friends and the community to celebrate her live and continue to keep her memory and impact alive

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Loved ones of Miss USA winner and Charlotte native Cheslie Kryst honored her life with a memorial Friday evening, which Kryst's family announced last week.

The family hosted a public celebration of life on Friday, Feb. 18, at Elevation Church off Rea Road in Blakeney. A live stream was also broadcast for those who couldn't attend in person. 

RELATED: 'I am forever changed' | Cheslie Kryst's mother says Kryst dealt with high-functioning depression

Kryst died by suicide on Jan. 30 in New York City. She was beloved in the Charlotte community after becoming Miss North Carolina and working closely with the Charlotte-based charity Dress for Success.

"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, said.

Dress for Success has now created the Cheslie Kryst Woman's Advancement Fund to support more ladies in their employment journey. Other groups that Kryst was involved with have also started fundraisers in her honor including the Cheslie Kryst Diversity and Social Justice Law Scholarship at Wake Forest University along with the Dean's List Media Scholarship.

“Organizations that have said Cheslie gave so much to us it’s now time to continue her legacy and give to others on her behalf," family spokesperson LaToya Evans said.

RELATED: 'A genuine, beautiful spirit' | Remembering Cheslie Kryst

Kryst's mother April Simpkins also spoke at the memorial sharing just how much her daughter truly meant to her.

“She is forever my baby girl and I’m going to miss all of her and the living example of a pure heart. I’m going to miss that the most," Simpkins said.

RELATED: 'I am forever changed' | Cheslie Kryst's mother says Kryst dealt with high-functioning depression

Simpkins also hopes to save other lives following her daughter's passing by encouraging people to prioritize mental health, save the National Suicide Prevention Hotline number 800-273-8255, and be selfless like Kryst.

“Honor Cheslie by becoming an ally for a community that needs support," Simpkins said.

Prior to the public service, Kryst's family held a private ceremony.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

You can stream WCNC Charlotte on Roku and Amazon Fire TV, just download the free app.

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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