Students rallying to get signed Brady jersey for auction honoring Gianna Cirella
WARWICK, R.I. (WJAR) —
The Patriots and Eagles are focusing on the Super Bowl, which is one week from Sunday.
But, some Toll Gate High School athletes are hoping to get their attention.
It started with a 280-character tweet for a unique silent auction item in honor of Gianna Cirella, a 16-year-old junior and soccer player at the school who died of sepsis in November.
Connor Haley, a student, told NBC 10 News that he and his girlfriend were out to dinner, talking about an upcoming gala being held in memory of Gianna. They were trying to decide what they should do for the auction and they wondered if they would be able to get a signed jersey from Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady.
"So, we tweeted it out and from then on, it's just been crazy," said Haley.
While it hasn't quite gone viral yet, it's certainly circulating the internet with almost 2,000 retweets in just a few days.
"Every time these kids have an idea or they want to do something for Gianna -- for her family to keep her spirit alive -- it never ceases to amaze me they come up with the most outrageous things that make sense at the end of the day," said Gianna's soccer coach Lonna Razza.
"Gianna wore 12 -- loves the number. Tom Brady obviously wears it and is a very proud member of the Patriots," Razza went on to say. "It was just a nice gesture for Connor to be sitting there as a young adult saying, 'What else can we do?'"
The silent auction will take place at The Gianna Cirella Memorials Gala on April 20 at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick. All the money will go directly toward her foundation to help fund medical research for sepsis.
Gianna died of a blood infection just weeks after complaining about a sore throat. She was the varsity girls' soccer captain at Toll Gate, donning number 12 just like Brady.
Gianna was also an avid Brady and Patriots fan.
"It's obvious a busy time right now, but I'm hoping they get back to us -- and good luck to them," Haley said.
Razza also had a few personal words for the Patriots.
"First off, I don't want any distractions. I want you guys to go out there and win the trophy -- bring it home like last year," Razza said. "And then when you get back and you're done celebrating your win – because it's going to happen – we'll talk about the gala and we'll talk about Tom Brady getting us a signed jersey. If you guys aren't doing anything April 20, we'd love you to come to the Crown Plaza in Warwick. We'd love to have you there and we'd love to hang out with you."
Tickets to the gala are on sale. Dinner and entertainment by Those Guys will be provided.
Meanwhile, Patriots star Julian Edelman and the Eagles Carson Wentz donated jerseys to a fundraiser honoring Chariho High School soccer player Maddie Potts.
Both jerseys are being auctioned off to benefit the Maddie Potts Foundation.
The auction ends February 3.
Proceeds will help fund scholarships and awards in Maddie's name.
Editor's Note: The organization posted on its Facebook page Thursday night that someone has a signed Brady Jersey and is willing to donate it.