Kimberly Leahy Faenza, 41, of Gainesville, Fla., died Nov. 14, 2013, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Kim was born March 26, 1972, in Providence, R.I., with Muscular Dystrophy, a weakening disease of the muscles, but there was nothing weak about her. After many surgeries, and the loss of her younger brother, Tommy, she was able to accomplish many remarkable things in her short life. She was a poster child for the MDA telethon and was selected as Youth Volunteer of the Year, and was invited to the White House, to meet then-President Ronald Reagan. She put herself through college, and came to the University of Florida
to earn her Masters Degree. After graduation, she began her career in communication with Disney Cruise Line, where she worked for eight years. During this time she met her future husband, they married, and eventually moved back to Gainesville, where she began her career with Shands Hospital, and then began working as the Marketing and Communications Director for the United Way of North Central Florida.
She touched so many lives, she was an inspiration to people with disabilities showing them they can drive, date, work, be parents, anything.
She is survived by her husband, Claudio Faenza; one son, Sullivan Thomas "Sully" Faenza; and her parents, Tom and Lois Leahy, all of Gainesville; father and mother-in-law, Dennis and Doris Gaal; brother-in-law Marco Faenza; and sister-in-law Daniella Faenza.
A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013, in the Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 10900 S.W. 24th Ave., with Father Jeff McGowan, celebrant. Interment will follow in the church columbarium. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2013, at Williams-Thomas Funeral Home Westarea, 823 N.W. 143rd St. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations should be made to an educational fund for her son, Sully Faenza, c/o Bank of America.
For further information: Williams-Thomas Westarea, 352-376-7556.