“Mom always joked about ‘loaves and fishes’,” said Dana Consoli. “She never turned anyone away. Everyone was welcome at our table.”
It was that essential commitment to helping others that created a legacy for patients and families with bone marrow failure diseases.
Dana Consoli is the daughter of Patricia and Vincent Geczik, who remembered the Aplastic Anemia & MDS International Foundation with a special gift in their estate. Their gift will support AA&MDSIF’s efforts to find better treatments and perhaps a cure for paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), Dana’s disease.
“We were a normal, everyday, middle-class family. My parents worked very hard, and they saved and saved and saved. My siblings and I never wanted for anything, and they instilled in us a great work ethic and great values,” said Dana. The family first lived in New York and then New Jersey. Vincent, who died in 2011, worked for UPS. Patricia, who passed away in 2013, used her creativity as an artist and also in a flower shop.
Working with an estate planning advisor, the Gecziks sought to use the proceeds of their life’s work to help “eradicate PNH.” That’s when they found AA&MDSIF. “They were tortured by the fact that I had PNH and had to edit my life,” explained Dana. “They knew my struggle, but they also knew that I was not going to let PNH define me or my life,” she added.
Today at 48, Dana has three “miracle” children, including a set of twins, and she enjoys a very active lifestyle. She’s recently begun off-road bicycling. And she is equally committed to her parents’ goal. “Ten years ago, I was very ill and could never have predicted that I’d be in such a good place. But it’s not enough. We need to do more for the patient, beyond immediate care and treatment. We need to continue this [work]. It’s a lot of responsibility making sure it is not squandered and lasts for generations. We want the legacy that my parents created to have a positive and lasting impact. We don’t know what that looks like yet, but that is the goal.”
“The gift that Dana’s parents have made is truly remarkable,” said AA&MDSIF Executive Director, John Huber. “The new research it will support, the discoveries it may launch, and the hope it engenders – that is their legacy.