OAKFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- It has been nearly a year since 11-year-old Cora Gonzales died after being hit by a car near Rockford.
As the anniversary of her death nears, her family and the Cedar Springs community wanted to do something special in her memory. Her family and community are creating a scholarship fund in her honor for a sport she loved playing so much.
"She was just buzzing all over the field, always had a soccer ball at her feet," says Anna Nozkowski, a family friend.
"Just watching Cora play was just incredible," says her dad George Gonzalez.
On Oct. 6, 2017, Cora was hit by a car across the street from her home in Oakfield Township. She was hospitalized after the accident for serious injuries, and a few weeks later the 11-year-old died in the hospital.
"The community obviously very shocked by what happened," says Jake Lange, Cora's youth pastor. "It was great to see both the community here in the church as well as their community in the schools and in their neighborhood just really rally around the family and give them the love and support that they needed."
Now the community is continuing to give that love and support, helping the family create a soccer scholarship fund in Cora's memory.
"Cora was a very giving person; she had a big heart," says Nozkowski. "And George and Cookie just wanted to find a way to give back and remember and remember her love of soccer."
Cora's parents say each day is hard, but they hope, through the scholarship fund, Cora's passion for soccer will continue to live on.
"Mom has more of a harder time, because I feel like I have to be the rock of the family," says Gonzalez. "But I have my times. I break down in my own little room, in my own little area, but we really appreciate everybody that's supporting all of that work into it." Indicating a nearby picture, Gonzalez says, "I can see Cora smiling, right here in that little picture right there, she's just smiling."
On Saturday, Oct. 20, you can help the family raise money for the scholarship fund at the first annual AYSO "Purple Day Out" games. All proceeds will go toward the scholarship.
The family plans to choose the first recipient in spring of next year. Stop by this link for more details.