Gia Cella Raise Funds, Donations To Help Those In Need
DALLAS — When 10-year-old Giavanna Cella heard that pediatric cancer research was underfunded, she decided to take action.
Gia, a fifth-grader at Wycallis Elementary School in Dallas, recently hosted a lemonade stand at her great aunt’s home in West Pittston.
With help from her family, friends and neighbors and support from her church, Gia raised nearly $2,100 for Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
The national foundation raises money and awareness of childhood cancer causes and research into new treatments and cures. It was founded by Alexandra “Alex” Scott, who was diagnosed with childhood cancer just before her first birthday and died at age 8.
“I wanted to have a lemonade stand, and I didn’t really just want to have an ordinary one, so I went online and I found out about Alex’s Lemonade Stand,” Gia said. “There’s not enough money to research for medicine for pediatric cancer so I decided to do an ‘Alex’s Lemonade Stand.’”
Last summer, Gia also took the initiative to help financially disadvantaged children.
The Dallas resident donated her six-inch ponytail to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children in the U.S. and Canada who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss from any diagnosis.
“I wanted my hair cut so I thought I might as well do it to help people because they need it,” she said. “It’s for a good cause.”
Gia dedicated both the lemonade stand and the Locks of Love projects to her Pop Pop, Louis Cella, who died from cancer in 2013.
In addition to her interest in helping children with cancer, Gia has donated her birthday gifts to the St. Joseph’s Baby Pantry in Scranton for the last five years.
In lieu of gifts, she asks her guests to bring baby items for the pantry. She and her mom then deliver the items to the pantry that is a free community service available to all families who need baby food, clothing up to size 6, diapers and other baby items.
“I don’t really need my presents as much as they need all their stuff,” she said. “People can come and take the stuff if they can’t afford it in a regular store.”
When asked what is the most rewarding part of doing things for others, Gia said, “It just really makes me feel good.”
Her advice to other young people working toward a goal is, “Just do your best and keep going and don’t stop until you reached the goal.”
In addition to her commitment to community service, Gia also is a tap dancer at Back Mountain Dance Studio. She plays soccer and has performed in plays at the Music Box Dinner Playhouse in Swoyersville.
Gia is the daughter of Mario Cella, a physical education teacher at State Street Elementary School in Larksville, and Stacy Cella, a pharmacist at Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton. She is big sister to Nico, Arianna and Matteo Cella.
Contact the writer:
Stacy Cella, mother
What successful parenting strategy can you share with other parents?
We always try to teach the kids to think about how other people feel and to try to put others first.
At what moment did you realize your child was special?
When she was really little, she was always concerned about her brother. When she went to the bank and they would give her a lollipop, she would immediately ask for one for him because they are close in age. When she started preschool, she always tried to help the less fortunate. When she was 3, she took a ballet class and there was a little boy with special needs. He didn’t walk very well. He had some surgery and she just gravitated toward him. If he fell, she would pick him up.
What is the greatest challenge you’ve encountered in raising your child?
The world today. It’s a scary place today especially with what just happened (in Las Vegas). We try to teach them even though there’s bad people out there, there’s good people. People do things like Gia did and it makes it a better place.