Gala and auction held to benefit The Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund

West Bay
Gala and auction held to benefit The Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund

WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) —  More than 500 people gathered at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick Saturday night to raise money for The Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund.

The Tollgate High School junior died in 2017 from sepsis. Cirella’s mother, Tara, is working to raise awareness for sepsis research through the memorial in her daughter’s name.

Earlier this week, a resolution was passed at the State House that aims to create standard protocols for sepsis detection.

“It was huge, it came out of nowhere, it happened so fast,” Tara Cirella said.

The resolution will ask the state department of health to create standard protocols for the detection of sepsis. At the beginning of April, Tara Cirella testified in favor of it along with two other moms who lost children to the medical condition.

“It means that there’s a really good chance that we’re not gonna keep hearing about children dying in Rhode Island from sepsis,” Tara Cirella said.

Gianna Cirella was 16-years-old when sepsis claimed her life. She played soccer in Warwick. Her symptoms started as a sore throat and her mom says she was seen by three medical providers before going to Hasbro Children’s Hospital.

Tara Cirella said there’s a chance the sepsis could have been caught earlier if protocols were in place.

“We’re all trying to just really keep her close and at the same time make huge changes,” she said.

Saturday’s silent auction was emceed by WPRI’s Kim Kalunian and Will Gilbert. Money raised will go towards sepsis research, support for the related legislation, scholarships and help for families with kids in the hospital.

Tara Cirella said the timing, with the resolution passing days before the gala, could not have been better.

“I just knew this is what we had to do and I knew the gala was what we had to do and then suddenly last week when it happened it was perfect, it was perfect,” Tara Cirella said.

Tara Cirella said she’s meeting with the Rhode Island Department of Health next week to start figuring out what the protocols are going to look like.

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