Cheering for a Cause

April 1, 2012 Updated Apr 1, 2012 at 11:13 PM EDT

By Allen Leight

April 1, 2012 Updated Apr 1, 2012 at 11:13 PM EDT

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) - Alyssa Loschiavo was an energetic teenager who loved cheerleading, and did so for her school until about a year ago.

In May of 2011, Alyssa was struck by a van on Union Road in West Seneca, sending her into a coma, where she's remained since.

"She eats through a feeding tube, we have to rotate her, change her, move her, do all that stuff....It's a lot but she'll get there, you know she's here today, she wasn't supposed to make it past the third day and she's still fighting strong, so," says Kim Loschiavo, Alyssa's mother.

Her family says she's getting better everyday and even becoming responsive. However they desperately need a wheel-chair van to be able to transport Alyssa to and from appointments while she continues to recover.

That's where Laura Voigt and Elly's Angels comes in.

Elly's Angels is an organization born out of another tragedy. The crash of flight 3407.

"My little sister was 24 and she was on the plane...and I was fortunate enough to have some great girls around me who wanted to make a really good thing out of a really terrible thing," says Voigt about the founding of her group.

Laura's sister Elly was also a cheerleader, and Elly's Angels was founded to carry on her memory. Now the group of young cheerleaders volunteers and does community service throughout the year.

"We've done dozens of community service events where kids go out and get a concept of what's out there and what it means to serve and how they can give back and what that feels like. And that's really what we try to do," says Voigt.

So Sunday, Elly's Angels held a competition with nearly 500 athletes which raised money to support both the Loschiavo family and Alyssa, and Elly's Angels and their effort to mentor and support young women.

"We're grateful for them," said Kim Loshiavo of the cheerleading group.

And though Alyssa is still a ways from complete recovery and can't cheer herself, she is still able to bring hope and joy to her family and those who know her.

"She's my baby sister and watching her just gives me hope, you know. She's a miracle and shows you that life is so precious, and not to take everyday for granted," says Alyssa's sister Crystal.