Good4Utah Web Extra: Former Utah State Hospital patient wants a headstone for deceased friend

Local News

Salt Lake City (ABC4 Utah News) – Ginger Phillips is a former patient at the Utah State Hospital in Provo and now serves as a Certified Peer Support Counselor for others with mental health and substance abuse disorders.

She’s also on the Forgotten Patients Cemetery Project Council to raise money for a monument commemorating 479 former State Hospital patients buried in unmarked graves in Provo City Cemetery.

Phillips is also working on her own separate effort in memory of a friend of hers named Crystal.

She told ABC4 Utah News about Crystal’s Sponge Bob Square Pants doll, her “ghost with ponytails” Halloween costume and the night Crystal met Donny Osmond.

“She was just a cute little spunky little girl,” Phillips remembers. “She was a teenager still. When I met her she had just barely turned 19.”

They were in the same unit of the Hospital and inseparable until Crystal suffered a bowel obstruction.

“I found out the next day that she had died,” Phillips said. “They brought in the whole entire unit and they told us and I literally just almost wailed, like cried out and they had to remove me from the room.”

Crystal’s family couldn’t afford a headstone so she now lays anonymously at Memorial Redwood Cemetery in Taylorsville. Ginger is trying to raise money to get Crystal a headstone.

“I’m just hoping that one day I’ll be able to provide that for her in memory,” Phillips said.

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