WARWICK, RI — As Toll Gate High School junior Gianna Cirella, 16, lay in critical condition from a serious infection at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Friday night, well-wishers gathered at the Bend Street Athletic Complex for a candlelight vigil in support of the teen.
The vigil began after the girls soccer game at the 80 Bend St., the school community, family and friends attended, the latest in a city-wide series of displays of support and encouragement for the young woman.
Gianna developed a sore throat Oct. 13 that worsened into pneumonia and then sepis, a life-threatening infection blood infection. Surgery to amputate her leg was scheduled Thursday. In the weeks since, Warwick residents have organized a blood drive and contributed $76,000 to a GoFundme page aimed at helping her family with their medical expenses, reaching more than 70 percent of the 100,000 fundraising goal within nine days.
“The Toll Gate community – and our city in general – is one that is tightly-knit and comes together to offer comfort, kindness and support in times of crisis,” said Mayor Scott Avedisian. “The vigil tonight provides everyone the opportunity to show their love for Gianna and offer their prayers and best wishes for her full and speedy recovery. All are invited to attend. The actions of her teammates and coaches, who have joined Gianna’s family at her bedside, truly demonstrate that the bonds that have been formed transcend well beyond the playing field.”
Avedisian said he has also directed that candles be placed in the windows of City Hall in Gianna’s honor.