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Community rallies behind sick homecoming queen in Richland County

SHELBY, Ohio -- Neighbors in one Richland County town are rallying behind a popular high school student who is being treated for an illness that landed her in intensive care.

17-year-old Lindsey Gies is considered a shining star at Shelby High School.

Lindsey, the daughter of Shelby High Principal John Gies, was homecoming queen this fall, and participates in athletics and theater at the school.

Shelby Schools Superintendent Tim Tarvin told Fox 8,  “whether you want to know Lindsey or not, you know Lindsey because she is going to make sure she has a conversation with you, says hi, smiles.”

Classmates and staff members at the school were distressed to learn that Lindsey fell ill earlier this month with an infection that threatened her life and landed her in the intensive care unit at a hospital in Columbus.

They held a candlelight vigil at the school on Sunday, where they offered support for the 17-year-old and her family. They posed for a touching photo in the shape of a heart, and wore her favorite color when they filled the stands at a Shelby Whippets basketball game.

The outpouring of support has lifted the spirits of Lindsey's family.

Her uncle, Joe Gies told FOX 8, "It was pretty overwhelming. I mean, I've seen this town come together for so many people, but when it happens to your own family, it really does hit home and it's incredible.”

Many of Shelby's 9,300 residents are also wearing pins with a photo of the popular student and the caption “Prayers for Lindsey.”

The display of solidarity and spiritual support has touched the hearts of her family.

"Oh I think it does wonders. The power of prayer has been amazing and I think it's very healing for the parents and the whole family to help us get through this,” said Joe Gies.

Relatives said Lindsey appears to be slowly getting better every day and that is the best Christmas gift the family could hope for.