Dana Jesse Marella, died peacefully on Friday, July 12th from complications resulting from Niemann-Pick type C disease . Her loving parents, Andrea and Phil were by her side.
She was only 11 days from celebrating her 20th birthday. Dana was born in New York City and has lived in Greenwich since 1994. Dana fought a courageous battle for the last 12 years since she was diagnosed at the age of 8. Dana, once an energetic, happy little girl had steadily deteriorated. Beginning with balance issues, she eventually became confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or speak and requiring a feeding tube and a tracheostomy.
Despite her many challenges and hospitalizations, she never lost her sweet nature and loving smile, always reaching to hold hands ; making her so deeply loved by everyone she met.
For the last 15 months, she attended St. Vincent's Special Needs School in Trumbull, CT where she thrived. Her dedicated teachers and therapists had her performing tasks never thought possible. Her family is so grateful to all of them. Dana had such an impact that in her short life, she taught people so much about perseverance, goodness and love of life. She was truly an inspiration to many.
Niemann-Pick C is a rare and degenerative disease impacting cholesterol metabolism. The family foundation, Dana's Angels Research Trust (DART) has been raising funds for medical research and their efforts have helped to launch two drug trials already with a third trial imminent. This medication may prove to help stop the progression of this devastating disease so no child afflicted with NPC has to suffer. The family is determined to continue their mission until a cure is found.
Dana was the second of four children and was a loving sister to her siblings, Julia Grace, Philip Daniel, and Andrew Patrick. She is also survived by her grandmother, Lucinda Marella and her mother's cousin, Sonny Grosso, as well as her aunts and uncles ,Laura Marella Daboub and Jorge Daboub, Kirsti and William Marella and numerous cousins, great aunts and uncles.
On Dana's behalf her family would like to express their deepest gratitude to the doctors, nurses, and other medical staff at Stamford Hospital for their dedicated, compassionate and loving care over the years. We will be forever grateful.
Calling hours will be held from 4:00PM-8:00PM on Monday, July 15, 2013 at the Leo P. Gallagher & Son Funeral Home 31 Arch Street Greenwich, CT. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated at 10:30AM on Tuesday, July 16, 2013 at St. Catherine of Sienna Church 4 Riverside Ave, Riverside, CT.
It is the family's wish that, in lieu of flowers, a memorial donation be offered to Dana's Angels Research Trust. Donations should be sent to 15 East Putnam Avenue, #117, Greenwich, CT 06830-5424 or online at www.DanasAngels.org.