Deanna Rose Gaia, a 35-year-old mother, was feeding her two-month old daughter Adrianna in her arms on Sunday when she called out to her husband Richard, “I don’t feel well.”
Richard charged into the room, but his wife was already unresponsive by then, said Deanna’s close friend, Michelle Paini.
Soon the ambulance arrived and took Gaia to Staten Island University Hospital in Prince’s Bay. Gaia was pronounced dead when she arrived at the hospital, as reported by Staten Island Live.
“Just like that, she was gone,” said Deanna’s mother, Debbie DiSalvatore.
According to Deanna’s friend Michelle, the 35-year-old nurse had no known health conditions and had delivered her two-month-old daughter without complications.
“She was in good health. She didn’t have complications giving birth. We don’t know what caused this.” said Michelle.
The family are still waiting for autopsy reports to determine the cause of her death.
DiSalvatore said that her daughter was her best friend and that they did everything together.
“We did everything together. We made all decisions together,” she said. “When my father was ill she kept him alive. She did anything and everything I needed. We made all the decisions regarding him together.”
Deanna met her husband Richard when they were teenagers when she worked part-time at Waldbaums. Nine years later, they would see each other again at the Marina Cafe in Great Kills. They’ve been together ever since.
“He was her Prince Charming. He would do anything for her. A love like that you don’t see between two people. Everyone who was at their wedding said that to me,” recalled DiSalvatore.
“I never saw two people so in love. He gave her anything she ever wanted. He made her life perfect,” she continued.
On May 29, Deanna gave birth to Adrianna Rose. DiSalvatore said that it was the happiest day of her life.
“She wanted part of Richie’s name and part of her name when she named her Adrianna. The ‘Ri’ from his name and the ‘Anna’ from her name,” said Deanna’s mother.
“She adored Adrianna. Deanna Rose was such a good mother,” she added.
As a registered nurse at Staten Island University Hospital since 2012, Gioia was known by the community as a woman who loved her job. Better yet, she found great pleasure in helping people.
“Deanna was an extremely hard worker for as long as I knew her,” Michelle said. “She did every job she ever had with pride.”
“Deanna said she didn’t go right to college because she didn’t know what she wanted to be in her life,” Paini continued. “She didn’t realize she was a nurse all along. She always took care of everybody, including her grandfather.”
The 35-year-old nurse also worked as a patient liaison in a hospital emergency department. Before long, Gioia decided to attend St. Paul’s Nursing School.
“She saw that the ER is like a family and the care they give is incredible. She saw staff there — all the doctors, all the nurses — what they did for people, and she wanted to do that.”
Karen Tufte, another friend of Gioia, said that she was very close to her brother, Joseph, and his wife, Sarah. She was especially fond of her nieces, Ava and Jillian, and always gave them presents.
With Gioia’s tragic death, her two-year-old daughter’s future is now in a state of jeopardy, which is why friends and family volunteered to help. Paini, for her part, set up a Gofundme page to help her friend’s husband raise their daughter Adrianna. With a goal of $200,000, the page raised almost $43,000 within 24 hours.
To contribute, please go to this Gofundme link.
[Image via Michelle Paini/GoFundMe]