Family of late Arrowhead student, football player furthers his legacy

CREATED Dec. 18, 2012

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HARTLAND - Jim and Jill Hilligoss deeply miss their son, JT. 

"He helped me through a lot," Jim said.  "It definitely doesn't get easier.  It's a new normal."

The 17-year-old went to bed on a school night in February and never woke up.  The medical examiner called it 'sudden cardiac failure.'

JT was a talented, respected Arrowhead football player known for making teammates laugh and pushing them to do their best. 

"He did funny things just to get people to laugh, not necessarily making fun of anyone.  It was just being a goof," Jill told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.

But, JT's first love was downhill skiing.  His parents decided the best way to honor their son would be a memorial ski race.

"JT was such an enthusiastic guy.  He loved community and loved his teammates," said Arrowhead alpine ski coach Will Nourse.  "I thought it was a great way to get people back together, celebrate JT."

The money raised will be put toward a scholarship fund in JT's name.  His parents said they plan for the money to go to someone much like their son.

"A multiple sport student and to be well liked by their peers and coaches," Jill said.  "We don't want this to be a one-time event.  This will be every December, the Saturday before Christmas."

The JT Hilligoss Memorial Ski Race is this Saturday at Devil's Head Ski Resort in Merrimac, WI.

More information on the fundraiser can be found by clicking here.