Vanessa spoke to PEOPLE in March about how her family is doing more than a year after their loss. “This pain is unimaginable [but] you just have to get up and push forward,” she said at the time.
“Lying in bed crying isn’t going to change the fact that my family will never be the same again,” she added. “But getting out of bed and pushing forward is going to make the day better for my girls and for me. So that’s what I do.”
In May, the proud mom paid tribute to Gianna on her 15th birthday. “Today is my Baby’s Birthday,” she wrote on Instagram, after relaunching Kobe’s foundation as the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nod to the father-daughter duo. The nonprofit seeks to empower young girls and provide equal opportunities to underserved athletes — a vision Kobe long championed.
“When I thought about how best to celebrate Gianna’s birthday with so many who loved her, I knew it had to be a combination of sharing her bright and fun personality with her sense of purpose and passion that would help make a difference in this world,” Vanessa added.