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Car wash fundraiser held in honor of Gianna Asencio

Teen hit, killed Thursday while walking to bus stop

FLEMING ISLAND, Fla. – Hundreds of cars washed and thousands of dollars donated, all to help a Fleming Island family plan a funeral.

Fourteen-year-old Gianna Ascensio was killed Thursday after being hit by a car on her way to school.
Saturday, ROTC students from Fleming Island High School came together for a car wash,raising over $16,000 for Gianna's family.

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"I did not know her at all. She was in ninth-grade. I'm in 11th but she is a very beautiful girl and she touched a lot of hearts and it was really sad to see all my friends cry for her that did know her," said McKenna Gray.

Friends like Sophia Bertolini, who had classes with Acensio said she was an easy person to get along with.

"She's the most wonderful person ever. If you could have met her you would have loved her off the bat," said Sophia Bertolini, friend.

1st Sgt. Tom Lewis is an ROTC instructor at the school and said he knew he had to organize the car wash to help the family.

"We started out this morning with a prayer and pretty much all we can do is pray for the family and we're going to raise a little cash to help them out too with any incidentals," said Lewis.

Students washed 300 cars  in the Goodyear parking lot, but for the people driving the cars it was about much more than having a clean car.

"My daughter goes to the high school and it's the right thing to do. A family shouldn't have to bury their child," said Stacey Francisco, a parent.

Francisco says what happened to Gianna made her think about her own daughter and how she could make an unimaginably difficult time for the family a little easier.

"A little less off their plate that they don't have to worry about what they need to do," said Francisco.

The vigil for Asencio will be held Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Fleming Island. Funeral services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday.