Toll Gate soccer team raising money for teammate in need of life saving surgery
By: Chloe Leshner
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) -- The Toll Gate High School girl's soccer team is coming together to help a teammate who's suddenly in need of a life-saving surgery. A week ago the 16-year-old was on the field with her team and now she's so ill, doctors need to take her leg to save her life.
In just over 24 hours, the girl's soccer team has raised tens of thousands of dollars for Gianna Cirella and her family, and that number just keeps going up.
The Toll Gate girl's soccer team learning a valuable lesson this week. When a teammate is down, you have to lift them up.
"I'm very proud to call these girls my players,' says Lonna Razza, their coach and a teacher at the school.
On Monday., 16 year old Gianna Cirella was abruptly rushed to the hospital. With pneumonia and an infection in her blood stream, her lower right leg will have to be amputated. Her teammates wasting no time setting up a Go Fund Me page for their friend and her family.
"As someone who's not her immediate family, even though we are best friends, I just felt like there wasn't that much I could do, but I could do this," says Elise Saccoccia, a junior who started the fundraiser.
The amount of money donated online is growing by the hour and the girls hope it provides relief for the family.
"I just hope it's comforting to have that and knowing that it came from friends, family, even strangers, knowing that they have that much support is helpful," says Saccoccia.
And as their friend fights for her life, at today's homecoming pep rally, the team showed her they're Cirella Strong.
"She's the full package. She's a great kid, she's a fighter and that's exactly what shes doing right now," says Razza.
"She's quite the character. She is very funny, she will never fail to make you laugh," says Saccoccia.
Cirella's younger sister Cassie is also on the soccer team, the girls supporting her too.
"She's doing her part to stay strong for her sister and she's been in school everyday. She hasn't missed a beat and we're just going from there and being Cassie's support system now as her family here," says Razza.
Next Tuesday all students are encouraged to wear Gianna's favorite color purple to show their support. To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/cirella-strong-medical-fund