September 11, 2017 marks a date on the calendar that holds a sad spot in the hearts of many, not only because of the sixteenth anniversary of the attacks on the Twin Towers, but because of the passing of a bright and inspiring soul.
Deanna Nicole Delmonaco attended the University of New Haven as a member of the class of 2019. She is survived by her husband Grayson Pedro and loving parents Kimberly and Allan Shaul. Deanna was involved around campus as an executive board member for Art for the Heart, a cause very close to her, and was the spokesperson for Love Your Melon.
On that fateful day, Deanna lost her nearly 9-year battle with Ewings Sarcoma, a form of bone cancer that she was diagnosed with at the young age of 13. Over the years, she went through countless rounds of treatments and surgeries. Those who knew Deanna knew she never used her cancer as an excuse to not live her life to the fullest.
When she was given the opportunity, Deanna used her wish, from the Make a Wish Foundation, to be on an episode of, a popular Canadian teen show, Degrassi. She made countless trips to Disney World in Florida, one of the happiest places on earth for her. In the end, she married her sweetheart Grayson Pedro in a fairytale wedding on August 26 of this year.
For one to see how much she meant to many, you only had to look at the crowds that gathered at her wake and funeral mass. At her mass, nearly every row was filled with the hearts that were full of so much love for this one girl. There was not a single dry eye in the church when Deanna’s aunt Lea quoted Winnie the Pooh, “If there ever comes a day when we can’t be together, keep me in your heart, there I’ll stay forever.”
It is impossible to put into words how much Deanna meant to the people whose lives she touched. For those who knew Deanna, and had time to get to know her, knew that the world is a better place because she was in it.
I am not alone in mourning the loss of Deanna. She was my first friend at school, she was my roommate, and she was my family. Winnie the Pooh said it best: “I knew when I met you an adventure was going to happen.”
Deanna will always be an inspiration to me to keep going forward with my dreams no matter what life throws at me. She taught me that you can either feel sorry for yourself or you can try to make the best of the situation you were given. I will forever miss our late-night talks, trips to Massachusetts, and making up our own rules to games we couldn’t understand. I will always remember, honor, and love Deanna.
Rest in peace, Deanna Nicole Delmonaco, you were loved dearly.