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Charity event planned in memory of woman who died hiking Red River Gorge

“Her vision is being fulfilled in a way she would have never dreamed.”
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 4:52 PM EDT
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CAMPBELL COUNTY, Ky. (WXIX) - You may remember last month a young woman from Alexandria died after falling from a cliff at Red River Gorge. Now a golf scramble is being planned in her memory.

Gabriella Smith was 24 and a second-year medical student at the University of Kentucky when she died last month. Now, even in death her mission to help young kids continues.

“She wanted to be a neonatologist,” remembered Kerensa Smith, Gabriella’s mother. “Her dream job would have been to work at Cincinnati Children’s, and she wanted to be involved in global health and medical missions.”

Kerensa remembers her daughter as a woman of faith who loved to help kids, a hard-working medical student and someone who had dreams of helping kids in other countries get the medical care they deserve.

“She always gravitated toward young kids. She loved working with young kids,” Kerensa continued. “She had two special needs brothers and loved advocating for them and making sure all their needs were met. She felt that everybody across the world deserved medical needs met.”

Larry Travis is planning an August golf scramble to help fund a new medical center in the Dominican Republic, where Gabriella visited on mission trips through her church.

Travis formerly preached at Plum Creek Christian Church, where Gabriella and her family worshipped.

Travis is now on the board for the Eastern Dominican Christian Mission and also an assistant golf coach at Northern Kentucky University.

“To think about a person in our own community who had a heart for other people in the world she had never met, but was willing to go and sacrifice and give of herself to make a difference in other people’s lives,” explained Travis. “And now to do that in her memory, I think would bring a big smile to her face knowing that her life has continued on. Her spirit has continued on, and her vision is being fulfilled in a way she would have never dreamed.”

Kerensa says opening a medical facility near the Dominican Republic church where Gabriella took her first mission trip is fitting.

“It ties in exactly with what she would have loved and been involved in,” Karensa said. “I could honestly see that someday she would have wanted to go there.”

The golf scramble will be at Pendleton Hills Country Club on Aug. 6. There will also be raffle prizes, food and drinks. You can find out more at this link.

“I hope that you enjoy golf and you enjoy being with friends,” said Travis. “But when you can come do something you love and make a difference in people’s lives, and if you knew the Smith family and Kerensa, and you have a heart like hers, you can connect your heart to that and know that it makes a difference.”

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