INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) - One final time, Laila Short made an entrance just as she had done so many times before in her brief eleven years.
"She would have thought it was really cool actually," Storm Newcomb, Laila's sister, said. "She would have thought that so many people cared about her."
Friday evening, dozens of motorcycles pulled into Mill Grove United Methodist Church in Indian Trail. Many of the bikers had never met Laila, but saw a Facebook post and wanted to honor her.
The compassionate and free-spirited 11-year-old died in a motorcycle crash last Sunday. She was on a motorcycle ride with her cousin when they were hit by a pickup truck.
"I'm just real proud of what happened and how this thing turned out," said Chris Dusty Bubba Maines, organizer of the bike ride.
Laila's rugby coach carried her ashes on his bike and handed them off to the little girl's father.
"It can happen to anybody," Maines said. "It can happen to me, it can happen to you. We don't know if we're going to be here tomorrow or not."
Laila's family was determined to make her funeral a celebration. Her rugby jersey hung at the front of the church as her vibrant life was remembered.
"She was my best friend, a shoulder to cry on," Laila's sister said. "She was always there for me and there for anyone that needed her."
Missing from Laila's service was her cousin, who was driving the motorcycle she was on. He's still recovering in the hospital, but Laila's family is standing behind him no matter what happened at that intersection last Sunday afternoon.
"He's going to blame himself, but we don't hate him. We don't think that he meant for this to happen. He would probably trade places," Laila's sister said.
After the service, Laila's father stopped to say thank you to everyone in attendance for the support.
"To have been taught over the last 11 years how to care, how to love and what it means to be a family. You have all touched us in one way or another," Laila's father said.
Laila's rugby teammates huddled up for her one last time after the ceremony. It was clear she touched more people in her short time on earth than many do in a lifetime.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends in Laila's name to help the family with hospital and funeral expenses. Family members ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Levine's Children's Hospital.