Heartfelt Valentine’s Day fundraiser remembers 14-year-old who took his own life
Feb 5, 2024, 4:04 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2024, 9:39 pm
MONROE, Sevier County — A community in central Utah is remembering 14-year-old Dexton Obray this Valentine’s Day by raising funds to bring roses to local high school girls, as he once did.
“We know not every girl has their special valentine and our Dext always made sure no one was left out,” Dexton’s mother Brittney Obray said in a fundraiser description. “So in honor of him, we keep this tradition alive and hope to expand each year to other schools.”
@brittneyobray Last year this video blew up. This hear we finally finished our Dexton’s Light foundation and would love for you to help us sponsor as many girls as we can this valentines day! Link in Bio for more info. #viraltiktok #doitfordext #dextonslight #valentinesday #momsoftiktok #griefjourney #formyvalentine #myboy #tiktok #doinggooddeeds ♬ original sound – Brittney Obray
Dexton was described as a light to everyone he met and a kind and gentle kid. He was known for his participation in football and strongly loved his teammates, as they did him. Unbeknownst to his community and family though, he suffered inner turmoil, and at just 14 years of age, Dexton took his own life on Oct. 26, 2022.
In a campaign and partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Dexton’s parents wrote that they never knew he suffered and that they discovered after his death he did so largely due to the effects of social media.
Since his tragic death, Dexton’s family has worked to spread their story. They continue to push in support of new legislation and multiple lawsuits involving TikTok and Meta as a means to prevent other kids like Dexton from the same fate.
In a social media post made by Dexton’s parents, pieces of online content taken from Dexton’s phone algorithm and saved videos after his death were reposted. The videos included many references to self-inflicted hatred and death.
“This would be considered Tiktok rated G of what we had to see,” the post said. It’s concluded with the hashtag “#DoItForDext” which appears all over posts made about Dexton and the impact he is making on other teens’ and families’ lives.
#DoItForDext on Valentine’s Day
One of the impacts he made at school went viral on TikTok from Dexton’s mom’s account, after she was visited by a group of girls months after Dexton’s death. Each girl had received a flower from Dexton in 2019 when he decided to bring one for every girl in his class.
They showed up with roses and balloons, and each of them shared their favorite memory of Dexton with his mother. This year, Dexton’s family is fundraising to send roses to young women at local high schools in honor of him.
The fundraiser* states that a $3 donation sponsors a flower for one girl. Brittney Obray has said she’d like to continue doing this each year and wants to reach as many girls as possible.
*KSL TV does not assure that the money deposited to the GoFundMe account will be applied for the benefit of the persons named as beneficiaries. If you are considering a deposit, you should consult your own advisors and otherwise proceed at your own risk.
If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or exhibiting warning signs, call, text, or chat the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 which is answered 24/7/365 by crisis counselors at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute. All calls to legacy crisis hotlines, including the old National Suicide Prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255, will also connect to a crisis care worker at the Huntsman Mental Health Institute as well.
- SafeUT: Parents, students, and educators can connect with a licensed crisis counselor through chat by downloading the SafeUT app or by calling 833-3SAFEUT (833-372-3388)
- SafeUT Frontline: First responders, including firefighters, law enforcement, EMS, and healthcare professionals can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUT Frontline app.
- SafeUTNG: Members of the National Guard can chat with a licensed crisis counselor at no cost 24/7/365 by downloading the SafeUTNG app.
- Utah Warm Line: For non-crisis situations, when you need a listening ear as you heal and recover from a personal struggle, call 1-833 SPEAKUT 8:00 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
- The Huntsman Mental Health Institute offers a wide variety of programs and services including suicide prevention and crisis services, hospital treatment, therapy & medication management, substance Use & addiction recovery, child & teen programs, and maternal mental health services including birth trauma, pregnancy loss, infertility, and perinatal mood and anxiety disorders.
- LiveOnUtah.org is a statewide effort to prevent suicide by promoting education, providing resources, and changing Utah’s culture around suicide and mental health. They offer resources for faith based groups, LGBTQ+, youth, employers, firearm suicide prevention, and crisis and treatment options.