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7-year-old Jenison girl hit by car has passed away

Posted at 11:23 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-27 14:22:16-05

JENISON, Mich. — UPDATE: Saturday afternoon, a family friend told FOX 17 that 7-year-old Ruby Rissley passed away early Saturday morning at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Grand Rapids.

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The community is rallying around a 7-year-old Jenison girl who was hospitalized on Thursday after she was hit by a car.

The accident happened on 12th Avenue and Chicago Drive in Jenison as Ruby Rissley was walking home from school at Bursley Elementary, just a few blocks away. She was not far from her home when traffic was backed up due to a train in the area when it happened.

Hundreds of people have been praying for the little girl ever since. On Friday evening, a prayer vigil was held.

Pastor Caleb Befus, also the Rissley's next door neighbor, led the group in prayer for not only Ruby but her parents and three brothers.

"Ruby was like the glue. 3 brothers - one older and one younger - and she was the one that pulled those three boys together. I think they even described her as the magnet. But really, a sweet lady, A young lady, outgoing, full of energy, such a strong little girl," said Pastor Befus.

In the classroom, Ruby was considered the kind of student teachers would admire and want in class.

"I remember seeing her in the classroom last year, and she is just a bubbly young lady. She is just full of life, the sweetest girl, just a dream student, so to be speak that makes your classroom come alive. Our prayers are with her and her family because she just means a whole lot to Jenison Public Schools and in particular, Bursley," said Superintendent Tom Tenbrink.

Jenison Public Schools had extra resources on hand for students and teachers navigating the difficult situation. Additional social workers were available at the school on Friday. A letter was also sent home to parents to help them decide the best ways they can help their children work through this tragedy.

There is a GoFundMe to help the family with medical costs. Click here if you would like to donate.