Gainesville - Kimberly Leahy Faenza, 41, of Gainesville, Florida, died November 14, 2013, from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.

Kim was born on March 26, 1972 in Providence, Rhode Island, 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 8 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, and one son, Sullivan Thomas "Sully" Faenza, 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 on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 11:00 A. M., in the Queen of Peace Catholic Church, 10900 SW 24th Avenue, with Father Jeff McGowan, celebrant. Interment will follow in the church columbarium.

The family will receive friends on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 from 5:00 to 7:00 P.M., at WILLIAMS-THOMAS FUNERAL HOME WESTAREA, 823 NW 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.




(352) 376-7556

Funeral Home

Williams-Thomas Funeral Homes Westarea
823 North West 143rd Street Newberry, FL 32669
(352) 376-7556

Published in Gainesville Sun from Nov. 17 to Nov. 18, 2013