Family of Gianna Cirella grateful for Brady jersey donation

Steven Barbato and Tara Cirella hold up the autographed Tom Brady jersey that will be auction for sepsis research in memory of Gianna Cirella. (WJAR)

The mother of a Toll Gate High School student athlete said she's grateful for the donation of a New England Patriots jersey to be auctioned in memory of her daughter.

"It's a huge, huge thing for somebody to do for us," said Tara Cirella, whose daughter, Gianna, died in November of sepsis, a deadly illness caused by your body’s response to an infection.

The autographed Tom Brady jersey was delivered this weekend by a Steven Barbato of Warwick, who's known for his local sports memorabilia shop.

The donation was the result of a tweet sent by friends for an autographed jersey in hopes of it making it for an auction at an upcoming gala fundraiser. It's all in the name of raising money for research.

"We just want to raise a ton of money and awareness and get to work on sepsis research,” said Cirella. "We don't want this to happen to anybody else anymore."

Getting the Brady jersey was extra special because on the soccer field at Toll Gate High School, Gianna wore the No. 12 and she was a big Tom Brady fan.

Like the Patriots, securing the jersey involved a true team effort.

"I got a hold of the Tasca family where I work, Bob Tasca, to get the OK to buy it because it was a little more than my budget,” said Barbato. “And he told me go ahead and get it. Once he knew the story and why we were doing it, (he said to) get the jersey and overnight it, so we did. We overnighted it and within one day Edgewood Gallery in Cranston came forward and said 'I'll frame it for free.'"

Cirella said she is hoping money from the jersey and other items will make a life and death difference.

"And we want Gianna's name on that,” said Cirella. “We want her to have made the difference."

The Gianna Cirella Memorial Gala and Silent Auction will be held April 20 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick.

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