Seven-year-old Deniya Irving is accompanied by her sisters, Deaira and Dariah, as she walks the aisle of her spiritual home at Mount Chapel Church. Together with her grandmother, Lawanda Griffin, there is no shortage of warm hugs and joyful smiles.
"I have a very close-knit family,” said Lawanda Griffin, “and that’s one blessing in itself."
Over the last four months, family, friends and schoolmates have gathered in prayer for Deniya’s recovery.
"God has allowed her to come through,” said Pastor R.M. Fraction Sr., of Mount Chapel M.B. Church. “So, we become the family for them, to support her and see them through the storm."
On June 1, Deniya’s mother Jessica Garth, her father Derrick Irving and an uncle were killed along Beacon Avenue in the Walnut East neighborhood.
"That's got to be the worst call, to find out a child's been shot, and to see her standing here today is a miracle,” said Lt. John Green, Commander of the St. Louis Police Homicide Division.
Deniya was released from the hospital about 2 months ago and continues to recover. Lt. Green thanked her for her strength.
“You survived this. You can do anything," he said. "Don’t ever forget that.”
The family’s pastor, Reverend Fraction presented more than $5,000 raised through a GoFundMe account. This will help with Deniya’s physical, occupational and speech therapy.
“It's not easy, but we've made it through by the grace of God,” said Griffin.
Deniya is back in school. She’s in second grade. One of her favorite things to do is play with her sisters. Her favorite game is hide-and-seek.