Dee is the first child to her parents, big sister to her three siblings, a grandchild, a niece, a cousin, and most recently, and perhaps her favorite spot in the family tree, Aunt Dee to her six nieces and nephews. Dee was born with a physical disability, Spina Bifida, which resulted in the medical community considering her a ‘fragile infant’. She knew better and throughout her life Dee, with grace and determination, built the life she wanted to live.
Dee grew up in Oyster Bay, Long Island and attended public school there beginning in first grade. Teachers, principals, and classmates all welcomed Dee with open arms and created a nurturing and inclusive environment where Dee was a part of everything that her school had to offer. Dee’s braces on her legs, and the fact that she couldn’t run very well made her the perfect candidate for being the pitcher during the baseball games. As Dee got older we all loved going to the high school plays to see the creative ways they incorporated Dee into the dance scenes by positioning her behind a couch so she only had to move her arms to appear as though she was dancing with the rest of the cast. Dee did what she loved, setting and reaching her goals at every turn, taking each challenge in stride, and never letting her disability serve as a barrier to her dreams.
In College she pursued a path that would prepare her to help children and young adults succeed in school and work. She had groups in after school activities, ran programs to help people earn a GED, learn to write a resume or have an interview. As the people had taught her to get past hurdles she was doing the same.
Many times surgery interrupted her life but even in that setting she thrived. Doctors, nurses, rehabilitation specialists, and all the people involved in her recovery, were totally committed to getting her back to her best. Her indomitable spirit was infectious and she had longstanding relationships with those people.
And so, with Dee’s strength and courage in mind, we have created this foundation in her name, in the hope that we can help individuals, communities, and organizations embrace all of its members to create fulfilling and meaningful lives.
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