Family, friends gather to mourn 12-year-old girl who died on Business 80

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) -- Family and friends gathered on Saturday to remember the life of a 12-year-old girl who died on Business 80 trying to help her friend.

Officials say Kendra Czekaj died on Wednesday when she was struck and killed by a car after she chased a friend who ran away from the Children’s Receiving Home.

Kendra was described as a fearless leader with a contagious smile by her mother Michele Bryant. And many of the people who gathered across from the Children's Receiving Home on Auburn Boulevard shared similar stories.

“Whenever someone was having a down day she would always be like the one to be there for others,” friend Makala Obryan said.

One by one people who knew Kendra shared fond memories and described her love for cheerleading and art. Others also held signs bearing her picture.

“A good person. She always had a happy spirit,” said Brianna Walker.

Kendra’s cheerleading teammates and coach say she was always there to lend a hand.

“Very empathetic She was always willing to help other people. That is in her nature,” said cheerleading coach Jennifer Carnahan.

“It’s so hard to believe that she’s gone. It doesn’t feel real,” said friend Eliana Crimmen.

As balloons were released, the crowd lowered their heads for a moment of silence and prayed for justice.

“We won’t be quiet. We are not going to be quiet,” said Carnahan. “She would do this for somebody  else and we are going to do this for her.”

Kendra’s funeral is scheduled to be sometime next week.

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