BOCA RATON, Fla. - Lynn University gathered to remember 4 students and 2 professors who lost their lives lost in the Haiti earthquake last year and they're giving thanks for the lives that were saved.
It was 4:53 p.m. in Port-au- Prince when the 7.0 magnitude earthquake shook the city. Exactly a year later, Lynn remembered its family members.
"It was the exact moment a year ago that my daughter died," says Jean Gianacaci.
12 students and 2 Lynn professors were staying at a four-star hotel, called "Hotel Montana." The hotel collapsed during the quake.
"The ground shaking that's what I remember the most," says survivor Daniela Montealgre.
Eight students made it out alive, but Brittany Gengle, Stephanie Crispenelli, Courtney Hayes and Christine Gianacaci would not return home.
"We think about them every single day, " says survivor Melissa Elliot, "and we wish they were here with us."
The parents of Christine Gianacaci made the trip from New Jersey to the campus of Lynn University to honor their daughter and other victims.
"Our daughter still means everything to us. I mean, your obligations as a parent doesn't end because she's not physically here," says John Gianacaci.
But like the other families who lost their daughters, the Gianacacis have tried to turn tragedy into triumph by starting the "Christine's Hope for Kids Foundation."
"We've helped thousands kids and gifted out $78,000," said Gianacaci.
The university also revealed its plan to build a $650,000 memorial in the honor of those who died.
"Obiviously, we want to make things better for them and in an earthquake and act of God you can't do that. That was struggle for all of us," said Lynn University President Kevin Ross.
The Gianacacis say their year has not been easy without their daughter, but putting the smiles on faces of children brings a sense a peace.
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