Donor Gino De Pieri with his mother Onorina.

One of Gino De Pieri’s priorities in life was to take care of the people around him.

“He always took care of his family and his community,” says Franco De Pieri, Gino’s younger cousin. “That was very important to him and he was extremely devoted to his family.”

Both Gino’s father and mother suffered life-ending strokes and his younger sister, Silvana had terminal leukemia. Tirelessly dedicated, Gino cared for them until their final days.

Even though Gino passed away three years ago from a rare form of cancer, his legacy continues that tradition of taking care of his loved ones and the community. In his will, Gino left a generous gift to help the Leukemia/Blood and Marrow Transplant (L/BMT) Program of BC, based at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) in recognition of the amazing care provided to Silvana Pezzutti, his late sister.

“Gino wanted to honour the family name and his sister by giving to this area,” Franco explains. “He wanted to make a difference to people with cancer and their families.”

A renaissance man

A man of the community, Gino volunteered for many local groups and clubs including the Burnaby Edmonds Lions Club Santa Claus Parade, in which he played a “pretty good” Kris Kringle for the Burnaby kids.

Gino was a renaissance man of sorts. In addition to passionate community involvement, he had interesting careers at CBC, in race car driving, in limo rentals and kitchen appliances repair.

“He had a lot of business ventures and ideas,” Franco says. “He was always thinking of something new and how to do it better. He would try something new out, persevere for a while and then move onto the next idea. He was very tenacious and never gave up.”

L/BMT Program

The L/BMT Program provides care for all adults in British Columbia and the Yukon who need stem cell transplants. The team also looks after patients with blood cancers such as leukemia. Gino’s gift will make a big impact on the program.

“This generous gift is greatly appreciated by the L/BMT Program and the Division of Hematology,” says Dr. Stephen Nantel, Head, Division of Hematology. “It will enable our team to participate in important new initiatives that will have a big impact on patient care.”

Gino’s gift will help a range of areas including: participation in a national trial with a promising new antileukemic drug, the recruitment of a new Clinician Scientist specializing in leukemia and stem cell transplant, as well as participation in an innovative trial combining psychotherapeutic and early palliative care treatments to improved multi-disciplinary care and comfort to patients diagnosed with leukemia.

Gino’s gift will make a significant impact on the community and people with cancer. Franco says he would have wanted that.

Learn more about how you can make a difference by leaving a legacy like Gino.