Children's Home names 'Courageous Mother'
When Isabel DiChiazza was diagnosed with an unknown degenerative neurological disorder at 18 months, her parents quickly learned how difficult it was to provide the care she needed with no family members living close to their Mt. Lebanon home.
"When my husband Mike and I realized that Isabel wasn't getting better, we knew that we needed some help caring for her during the day while we both had to work," Genie DiChiazza said.
Enter the Children's Home & Lemieux Family Center on Penn Avenue in Bloomfield, which offers a day-care program for medically fragile children.
"We were very happy to find the Child's Way day-care program at the Children's Home because it was a place where Isabel was not judged by her special needs and could receive the specialized medical treatment she needed," said DiChiazza, whose daughter died in June 2008.
DiChiazza, 39, received the center's first "Courageous Mother" award, part of a fundraising effort this month for Child's Way and other services, which include an adoption program and a pediatric specialty hospital.
Dan Musher, the center's director of development, said when it decided to honor the courage mothers exhibit when their children face serious medical issues, DiChiazza "was a natural choice" as the inaugural honoree.
"After Isabel passed away, Genie purchased one our memorial bricks to honor her daughter's life and battle," Musher said.
"Genie came by to see the brick last fall and while we were walking down the path toward it, I recall thinking that she was such an amazing woman to have gone through so much and still come away with a positive outlook and a desire to do something to give back to the organization that helped her child."
Pam Schanwald, the organization's chief executive officer, said DiChiazza "truly embodies the spirit and courage so many parents exhibit daily when dealing with special-needs children."
"Genie was such a dedicated advocate for her daughter and continues to advocate for children with special needs," Schanwald said. "We hope this will be the start of a yearly effort to highlight and honor true heroes who have exhibited extraordinary courage."
DiChiazza said many people have called to congratulate her.
"People told me how deserving I was, but I really feel that I'm no different than any other mother who is dealing with the kinds of things that we went through," DiChiazza said. "I was just a mom doing what she had to do to help her child."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Cole scratched from rehab start at Indianapolis
- Fired-up McNamara races to victory in Liberty Mile
- Police: Body found beneath Tarentum Bridge is jumper
- Steelers notebook: Team extends Suisham’s contract through 2018
- Locke’s difficulties continue thanks to old friends
- Churches putting faith in social media
- City of Asylum app shines light on North Side
- Pitt suspends cornerback Howard
- Steelers rookie says Sam, his former roommate, has changed
- White House redacts CIA torture report
- House OKs bill to address border crisis