There’s a popular Facebook page in Lincoln called Team Gigi — Walk by Faith and Not by Sight. The site is dedicated to a little girl named Gianna Carrera, known as Gigi, who lived with a rare form of brain cancer and fought it with determination until she passed away last month. Her story touched many people and even made the local television news. When she died, her mother put out a Facebook post looking for a videographer to record public and private funeral services. Moments in Time Images volunteered.
I attended both services and confess it is the first time I videotaped a funeral. Some might wonder why family members would want a funeral videotaped, but it was clear my job was to provide the family with a lasting memorial to this little girl. Providing a videotape with the service that celebrate this little girl’s life was the least we could do for this family, who has been through a lot in light of Gigi’s illness.
I didn’t know Gigi or anything about her, but I learned about her through this experience. Gigi was diagnosed in January 2014 with brain cancer. They learned this after she had a seizure and was acting strangely. She was taken to the emergency room and was sent to Omaha’s Children’s Hospital. It was discovered she had three masses on the back of her brain. A month later she had a brain surgery, removing half of one of the masses. They discovered it was malignant. She had a second surgery, knowing that it would affect her eyesight. She underwent radiation and brain scans. The family took a Make a Wish trip to the Bahamas. Things seemed to improve but a few months later Gigi started deteriorating. Eventually she lost her vision.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Gigi showed incredible courage and determination. She knew she was going to die but she didn’t want people to be sad. She was lively, she told jokes and made people laugh. She loved to dance. She was brave and inspirational. She told her parents to celebrate her life at her funeral service. She wanted people to wear something pink, blue or white because black was too depressing. She wanted flowers at the service, and there were plenty. At her service, a lyrical dancer performed. A large crowd heard a message of inspiration and heard words that could only make them love Gigi more. Afterward, balloons were released into the sky in Gigi’s honor.
Gigi touched many lives in her own short life. I’m sure it’s what she wanted.
MIT Images was privileged to provide the videotaping for this family, and we hope it will provide a lasting memory of the beautiful service they provided for this little girl and Team Gigi.