On Tuesday, Dec. 14, Destiny passed away from natural causes in Buffalo. She was 20 years old.
Deeply dedicated to family, Destiny was a quadruplet and one of 13 children that also includes two sets of twins.
An avid reader, Destiny consumed young adult literature. She named her dog Shakespeare.
To family and friends, she was simply “Des Des.”
Remembered for her warm smile and the beauty of her voice, Destiny spent Sunday mornings in her native Queens singing in her church choir. On Wednesdays, she’d help distribute meals to the hungry through a food pantry founded by her mother.
Destiny’s service to others extended to her family’s non-profit that aids foster families and adoptive children – hosting clothing, toy and food drives for those in need.
Along the way, she became known for her grace and a gentleness that put others at ease – and for an understated intensity that belied her passion and deep dedication to helping friends, family and strangers.
With a deep love for animals, Destiny enrolled in Daemen’s pre-veterinary program with an eye toward becoming a surgeon for horses and small companion animals.
“She always put forth her best effort,” said Brenda Young, a professor of biology and chair of the Global and Local Sustainability program at Daemen. “She always made the best of any situation.”
Deeply curious, the second-year student switched her major to psychological sciences at the start of the academic year and was considering career paths for channeling her talents and caring nature, including becoming a clinical psychologist.
“Students show themselves in different ways,” said Jack Peltz, an assistant professor of psychology at Daemen who taught Destiny this semester in statistics.
“Destiny was quiet – but incredibly engaged with a strong attention to detail and diligent work ethic,” he said. “She’d bounce back from challenges of new material to find a way to be successful.”
At Bishop Loughlin Memorial High School in Brooklyn, Destiny was named a Cornell-Weill Youth Scholar after completing a rigorous curriculum in the sciences and medicine.
“When she grasped something new, her eyes would light up,” said Peltz. “When she spoke in class it was always bright and welcome – it was always great to get another glimpse into who she was.”
A memorial service will be held at Bergen Funeral Services in South Ozone Park, between Brooklyn and Queens, on Dec. 22.
Her family has also established a GoFundMe page for help with funeral and medical costs.
“We lost a wonderful person this month,” said Greg Nayor, vice president for strategic initiatives. “Destiny was the best of what we want from our students and future leaders.”
Details on a remembrance service next semester at Daemen will be shared at a later date.
“Destiny may be gone,” said Kerry Spicer, assistant vice president and dean of students, “but she will never be forgotten.”