Elena was one of the original residents of the Raphael House. She was a daughter, a sister, a nurse and a friend to many. Her magnetic smile, outgoing joyful personality, and creative gifts were enthusiastically shared with everyone she met.
Elena became an inspiration to all as we watched her turn her life around. Being diagnosed with AIDS and brain Lymphoma the same day would have sent most people over the edge. But Elena's strength and tenacity for life sent her on a personal journey to discover her inner spirit and make the most of each day.
For the next two years Elena was a uniting force at the Raphael House and on the St. Camillus Campus. Most everyone either knew her or knew of her and everyone she met on a daily basis embraced her positive and energetic spirit. It is truly hard to put into words the joy and light she brought to so many residents and staff on the campus even though she was fighting daily with the reality and severe side effects of her disease.
Elena lost her fight with lymphoma and AIDS on March 14, 2000 two months after St. Camillus closed their AIDS ministry and the Raphael House. During her journey she was surrounded by the love and presence of God. This love was made real through the people who cared for her and those who lived by her side day to day. Her experience is an example of how a person who is struggling with overwhelming problems can live a vital and important life and die with dignity. We believe in the power her spirit kindles. And in memory of that WONDERFUL SPIRIT we created Elena's House in her name.