A sore throat is a common illness that many people deal with on a daily basis. Almost everyone has them occasionally, especially children who go to school and come into contact with all kinds of germs that pass on colds and infections.
Most people just suck on a lozenge, drink fluids and power through it. Some might even go to the doctor for a strep throat test, and get antibiotics if it’s a bacterial infection.
When one teen came home with a sore throat, her family never thought it was going to turn into a life-threatening emergency.
Gianna Cirella, a 16-year-old high school student from Rhode Island, was at soccer practice on October 13 and began complaining of a sore throat. What began with what everyone thought was a ‘common bug’ quickly spiraled into a nightmare for the young girl, her family and friends.
Three days after feeling her throat was sore, Gianna was in the hospital facing limb amputation and fighting for her life.
The infection quickly turned into pneumonia. Shortly after that, Gianna came down with sepsis, or blood poisoning. She’s being treated at Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, and now it’s just a waiting game.
According to a GoFundMe campaign set up for Gianna’s family, the infection resulted in cutting off oxygen and blood to the teen’s right leg. Because of this, at least part of the young, athletic girl’s leg will need to be amputated.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing,” said Gianna’s soccer coach, Lonna Razza, to The Providence Journal. “It was shocking – absolutely shocking – that it came on so quickly.”
Gianna’s teammates were devastated by the news and did everything they could to support their friend. They wore purple armbands and ribbons. They organized a blood drive and promoted the GoFundMe campaign started to help the family with medical bills. They took shifts at the hospital visiting Gianna to help keep her spirits up.
The team dedicated a recent game to Gianna. Her sister, who is also on the team, scored a goal for her sister.
“Of all nights, this was the night she scored that goal,” Razza said. “And it was for her sister. We all felt it. We all knew it.”
“If you asked any of Gianna’s family or friends, they would be the first to tell you that she is one of the most charismatic people you will ever meet,” reads the fundraiser page. “She has a unique sense of humor, and wherever she goes, an abundance of laughs follow. She is a devoted friend, student, and athlete, and is considered as family to many.”
Sadly, Gianna lost her battle with her illness and passed away on November 1, only two weeks after coming down with the whirlwind illness. The high school has brought in grief counselors to help students cope with the teen’s sudden and shocking illness.
The fundraiser has raised more than $85,000 to pay off the teens medical bills and cover her funeral costs.