Hundreds attend funeral for Toll Gate athlete

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of family members, friends and fellow students paid tribute on Tuesday to a young woman who lost her life fighting a serious illness.

Gianna Cirella, 16, died on Nov. 1 due to a multi-layered illness. She was a junior at Toll Gate High School and a goalie on the varsity girls soccer team.

A funeral mass was held Tuesday morning at Saint Kevin Church in Warwick.

“Her fiery, stubborn spirit, her goofy nature, will be missed,” Cirella’s uncle Timothy Davoren said.

The East Greenwich Police Department, where Cirella’s father is a deputy police chief, also held a gathering during her funeral procession.

“Their family just went through an unimaginable tragedy, the town of East Greenwich stands with the family,” East Greenwich Town Councilor Sean Todd said.

Cirella’s soccer team rallied around her during her treatment, wearing her favorite color, purple, and t-shirts with the number 12 on them.

The team organized a vigil in support of Cirella and hosted a blood drive in her honor.

After she passed away, her teammates painted a large rock outside the high school as another tribute.

What started as a saying on the soccer team transformed into hundreds rallying behind Cirella as she battled her illness. That saying is: “Cirella Strong.”

A GoFundMe page was set up for Cirella and her family during her treatment and is still collecting donations. So far, the page has collected over $80,000 for the family.