A Helping Hand for the Di Marcellos

"When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways - either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength" -Dalai Lama

The Di Marcello family is one that has come up against inconceivable tragedy and loss, yet despite all odds, manage to look up and smile every day. They have stayed strong in silence for so long, but it is time for the community to come together to support and give hope to them.

It has been a devastating five years for mother Mirella, father Harry, and daughters Anita and Christina. Back on October 24th, 2010, Christina and Anita were in a horrific car crash that claimed the life of Anita's nine-month-old baby girl, Angela. Christina, Anita, and Anita's other daughter, Donna, sustained minor injuries, and their car was completely totalled. The Di Marcello family was left in utter shock and grief over the loss of Angela, but through support from their friends and family, managed to find a way to smile again.

In March of 2014, Harry went to the doctor after suffering from a cough that wouldn't go away. The doctor ran some tests and soon enough discovered that Harry had pancreatic cancer that had metastasized in his lungs. He started treatment in April, and although the doctors remained hopeful, it became evident that Harry wouldn't have much time left with his family. Harry was known throughout the community for being the manager at Mediterranean Market, always with a smile on his face and a positive attitude. He was also a proud member of the Knights of Columbus.

In early October, Harry was admitted to Kelowna General Hospital, where he would remain until his passing. Throughout the next few weeks, family, friends, and visitors poured in to see Harry, and were appalled by his positive demeanor. Harry remained strong, proud, and faithful until his last seconds on earth. He smiled at everyone who came through the doorway, carried on a conversation to the best of his ability, and on their departure, he would say "God Bless you". Harry was a proud Catholic, and held onto his rosary in his final weeks with undying faith and hope. On October 17th, at the age of 54, Harry Di Marcello went to be with the Lord. He was surrounded by his loving wife of 28 years and their children. 

It was a devastating time for the Di Marcello's, but again, friends and family surrounded them with faith, support, and strength. Christina went back to work full time as a teacher, and Anita went back to working part-time at a local grocery store, as well as taking care of her three children, with another one on the way. It seemed as though life could finally settle down, and that they could try to find some peace and happiness in their daily lives.

 Shortly after New Years, 2015, Mirella went to the doctor after having some complications to discover a massive tumor growing in her pelvic area, as well as her lungs. Around the same time, Christina's grandma had fallen and broken her ankle, becoming unable to properly take care of herself. Mirella had to travel by Greyhound bus to Vancouver on Monday, January 5th, where they would run more tests and finally operate on Thursday the 8th. Because of the complicated nature of the surgery, it was necessary that Mirella have it done in Vancouver with a team of specialists by her side. Christina was going to take time off of work and take the bus to Vancouver on Wednesday the 7th to be with her mother, but the surgery was postponed and Mirella had to make her way back to Kelowna. 

As of now, Mirella is waiting for her surgery while trying to take care of grandma. Mirella has been away from work since Harry was diagnosed, due to the nature of his chemotherapy treatment, therefore, the family has been depending on their savings with minimal income. As you can imagine, this would put financial strain on any family. Anita has her family of 5 to take care of, and because of complications with her pregnancy, is unable to help her grandma or be with Mirella when her surgery occurs.

It is time for the community to come  together to help the Di Marcello family. They have stayed strong in silence for five years and have never given up on each other. They have remained positive despite overwhelming loss and hardship. We cannot let them carry this burden alone. It is our role as a community to help lift this family up in their time of need, to give them our hand and let them know that they are not alone in this fight. 

Thank you, and in the loving words of Harry Di Marcello, God Bless you.
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Sydney Karoline 
Kelowna, BC
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