DELTA, Utah (ABC4 News) – A Utah pageant queen is in the hospital after a horseback riding accident Monday, and the public is showing its love and support by wearing the color pink.
Miss Millard County 2019 Sierra Riding was thrown off a horse Monday evening resulting in a head injury that’s left her unconscious.
With a lot of unknowns and uncertainty at this time, Sierra’s family says her pageant platform, ‘Speak Up, Reach Out, You’re Not Alone’ – a suicide prevention initiative – is helping them cope in a different way.
“Her platform speaks about it’s OK to not be OK. You’re not alone – we’ve realized this through this process that we are not alone,” says Sierra’s mother, Lesa Riding. “We have family and friends, and communities and people we don’t even know are willing to reach out and help us.”
Because of the support the Ridings are receiving, they want those struggling with suicidal thoughts or any other struggles to know “people are out there to help.”
Wearing Sierra’s favorite color, pink, and using #CCSTRONG, friends, family, her community, and even strangers, are posting self-portraits on social media platforms as a way to show their love and support.
“We’ve had people send pictures from Nevada, Utah, Idaho, Minnesota, Texas, Colorado. All people sending pictures in support of her and her message,” says Sierra’s dad, Randy Riding. “So, it’s gonna be priceless when she finally comes out and sees those messages. It will be motivation for her to fight and know she’s not alone. Her message is coming back to help her. She is not alone.”
Lesa and Randy Riding say they plan to print off all of the pictures members of the public are posting online and will hang them in Sierra’s room to serve as a motivational reminder.
“That’s why we want pictures so we can show her, look, look at the army you have behind you,” Lesa Riding says.
Sierra is the youngest of seven children. Randy Riding says some of his daughters have been involved in pageants, and he’s never been a big fan of them until Sierra’s accident.
“I am 100 percent pro-pageant as of now,” Randy Riding says. “I’ve had so many of these women reach out to me in the last two days – they’re amazing.”
While going through this difficult time, the Ridings say they want to more than ever continue to spread Sierra’s pageant platform and help others know “it’s OK to not be OK.”
Randy Riding says he’d like to challenge the public to wear pink in support and honor of Sierra – this includes Brigham Young University’s Cougarettes and Cheer Squad – as he says some of the University of Utah cheer and drill teams have been wearing pink.
“She [Sierra] absolutely loves the BYU dance team and I would love to see them in pink and have a picture of that so she can see that when she comes out,” Randy Riding says. “That would be a great motivation for her and it would also be amazing for dad to see them in pink.”
The Ridings have set up a Venmo account for anyone interested in donating to Sierra – Lesa and Randy Riding say a portion of the donations will also be going to others in the hospital going through a difficult time as well.
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