Community rallies to support family of girl who died after car crashed through store

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – A community came together to raise more than $9,000 for the family of a girl killed in a freak accident in April.

Rylie Guentensberger was one of seven people injured when a driver plowed into RNK Running and Walking in Parker. The 12-year-old girl spend almost a month in the hospital before she died.

“Rylie was amazing and she’s just such a good girl. She was fearless,” family friend Tanya Berven told FOX31.

Berven and several other family friends organized a “Random Act of Bidding” silent auction to raise money for the family.

“We had planned this a few weeks ago,” she said, “We weren’t sure what we were going to do after Rylie passed but we decided to go ahead and go through with it and have the event for Rylie.”

Almost everyone was wearing t-shirts, bracelets or temporary tattoos with the phrase “Rylie Strong”.

#RylieStrong was coined while Rylie was in the hospital as a way to cheer on her recovery. At her memorial fundraiser, it took on a new meaning, giving strength to those grieving her loss.

“Riley was big about being joyful and spreading that joy and so we want to do that too,” Berven said.

The upbeat fundraiser featured signs that said “Be Happy”. There were nearly 80 silent auction items. And instead of flowers, they hung blue running shoes for her.

“Rylie was a big runner. She did triathlons and things like that,” Berven said.

A mirror also featured a quote Rylie wrote before the accident:

“Life is a beautiful thing…And to think we all complain about it. (I know I do all of the time.) And yes things may not be the greatest, but just make the best of each situation. Even the bad parts. Life is a privilege, so treat it like that. (Wow, that was deep)”

“Rylie wrote this and I couldn’t write something this clear,” Berven said. “Just finding the joy and enjoying each day when it’s even not a great day. Like when we lost Rylie. It wasn’t a great day. But she’s given us so much to move forward with.”

For a silent auction, Rylie’s was one that spoke volumes.

“I don’t think she knows how special she is. She’d be overwhelmed by how many people she’s touched,” Berven said.

There will be another fundraiser for the Guentensberger family on Monday, June 5th. 105 West Brewing will donate 25% of their proceeds from 3 to 9:30 p.m. to help cover Rylie’s medical and funeral costs.

Her Celebration of Life Memorial ceremony will be held Saturday, June 24 from 3 to 6 p.m. at Philip S Miller Park in Castle Rock. Organizers are asking people to come dressed in athletic wear with a touch of blue.