Murder victim’s mom to perform at Mich. comedy festival

Associated Press

Grand Rapids — The mother of a Michigan teenager who was murdered in 2016 is hoping to give back to those who helped her by performing standup comedy at a fundraiser.

Stacey Hilton told WOOD-TV that Gilda’s Club helped her heal after the death of her daughter, 18-year-old McKenna Hilton. She wants to show appreciation by participating in the club’s LaughFest fundraiser this year.

“Gilda’s Club was the only thing that got me up and got me out and they offer a meal and that was about the only thing I was eating, too,” Hilton said.

Hilton will perform with a group of first-time standup comedians Friday in Grand Rapids.

“I want to do something that makes other people laugh,” she said. “And see that even though you are grieving, you can still have some laughter in your life and it’s OK.”

Hilton said she’s excited to perform and thinks her daughter would be amused at the idea.

“I think she would be hideously embarrassed but I’m sure she would still be rooting me on,” she said.

The festival honors comedian Gilda Radner, who died of ovarian cancer in 1989. Proceeds and donations from LaughFest support free emotional health care programs for children and adults living with cancer and grief through Gilda’s Club Grand Rapids.

A person walking a dog found McKenna Hilton’s body Aug. 18, 2016, in a wooded area near Emerald Lake in Grand Rapids Township. Hilton’s half-brother, Savon Schmus, pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to between 40 and 100 years in prison in October. Schmus, 17, and McKenna Hilton shared the same father.