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Family, Friends Gather To Honor Memory Of Denton Missionary

By Nerissa Knight, CBS 11 News
Friends and Family of Lily Cantu, a Denton missionary who was killed in Peru, gathered Sunday for a fundraiser at Johnny Carino's in Denton.

Friends and Family of Lily Cantu, a Denton missionary who was killed in Peru, gathered Sunday for a fundraiser at Johnny Carino’s in Denton.

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DENTON (CBSDFW.COM) – While forks clinked upon plates at the Denton Johnny Carino’s location, the restaurant manager stood up and proclaimed that Sunday’s fundraiser was “different.”

Friends and family of a young missionary who died in Peru Thursday gathered to help raise enough money for her parents to have her body transported home.

Family friend Ben Benriones said it felt “amazing coming to a restaurant filled with people supporting this.”

“All the money is going there to the family,” he added. “It’s great when a community comes together; she was filled with life and love.”

All of the proceeds were donated to 20-year-old Lily Cantu’s family. Joe Morris, the manager of the Denton Johnny Carino’s, was friends with Lily and said he appreciates her family.

“We really want to bring the body home to the United States. It’s very important that we get this done,” Morris said. “Her family has been a big part of the community, both her mother and sister are teachers here and her father gives. We wanted to do the same and give it in return.”

Lily fell down some stairs Thursday in a three-story building while on a church mission to help impoverished Peruvian children. Many attendants Sunday came from her church, the Immaculate Conception of Denton.

“She always had a smile on her face,” said Kristina Cloud, a friend of Lily’s. “Her happiness was contagious. Everyone loved Lily.”

Friends and family remember Lily as a person who always wanted to help others. Her family said they find comfort in her charitable legacy. Their hope is to bring her back soon so she can have the farewell she deserves. The fundraiser lasted until 10 p.m.

“She touched so many lives,” Ashley, a friend who did not want to use her last name, said. “She’s still touching everyone.”

If any extra money is left over from the fundraiser, the Cantu family wants to donate it to the facilty in Peru where Lily was volunteering in her name.