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Keeping the Faith

Frank & Sal



Submitted by:
Fran DiBella

In this photograph, Frank is on the left and my brother Sal is on the right. My brother Sal was an AMAZING source of support when Frank was diagnosed. He would drive up to NYC all the time just to surprise Frank when Frank was undergoing chemo and stem cell transplant. I realized that out of sickness and sadness comes a beautiful story of loyalty and love, of brotherhood and laughter. This picture makes my heart happy. There is really no better way to say thank you to my brother for his unending support. Sal and Frank, I love you guys so much ! This is Frank’s story: While Frank was building a vegetable bed, a piece of wood hit him on the head. We thought he had a concussion because he couldn’t find words to finish his sentences, he didn’t understand what you were saying to him, he mixed up everyone’s birthdays, and he didn’t recognize certain objects any more. He went for a brain MRI and the doctors found a 2×3 lesion on his left temporal lobe. Right away, doctors and family members jumped into action. A brain biopsy confirmed nonHodgkin’s lymphoma. The funny thing is, there are no lymph nodes in the brain. This is extremely rare. With the help of medical staff, we traced this back to September 11, 2001 when Frank was in downtown NYC and was covered in soot, and now his illness is “9/11 certified.” Frank underwent chemo as well as stem cell transplant and we had to stay in Hope Lodge in NYC. He missed every single holiday in 2019 and every single birthday, but he kept on fighting. Throughout all this, we had so much help from sisters, friends, brothers, brothers-in-law, parents, sisters-in-law, cousins, grandson, nephews, nieces, sons and daughters, coworkers, neighbors, people in the community, and new friends that we met at the hospitals. Frank was never upset that this happened to him, and the love, laughter, and kindness supported him when he was his weakest. Today, the tumor has not regrown and his labs are great.