BELIEF: Faith was
important to Amanda Dieppa, 23, who died Tuesday
after a seven-year battle with cancer.
Photo courtesy of
private family viewing will be held for Amanda
Dieppa from noon to 3 p.m. Friday in Laguna
Hills. A funeral for her family, friends and
co-workers will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday
at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, 3800 S. Fairview
Road, Santa Ana, (714) 979-4422. Graveside
services will follow at El Toro Memorial Park
in Lake Forest. Amanda's parents, Tom and
Linda Twellman of Irvine, said donations in
Amanda's name can be made to the Leukemia
and Lymphoma Society (www.leukemia.org)
or to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Cancer patient, 23, had steadfast belief
Last words to husband were: 'Live by faith,
The Orange County Register
– Amanda Dieppa went around the hospital room, one
by one, asking those closest to her to answer a question
before she died.
her seven-year bout with cancer, the 23-year-old –
who received national attention when a bridal magazine paid
for hair extensions so she'd look pretty for her wedding
– never cursed her condition, relatives say.
was never about the cancer," said her father, Tom Twellman,
a retired captain and 20-year veteran of the Orange County
Sheriff's Department. "It was always about her faith."
as Dieppa lay dying Tuesday night at UCI Medical Center
in Orange, she wanted some reassurance she would see her
loved ones again.
Amanda asked. "Do you believe?"
so it went for the deeply religious Dieppa, who wrote stacks
of poems about the Hodgkin's lymphoma that first struck
when she was a 16-year-old track, soccer and karate standout
at Woodbridge High School in Irvine.
chemotherapy robbed her of her trademark long brown hair,
Modern Bride magazine stepped up with $2,000 for hair extensions
for Amanda's marriage to Aaron Dieppa in 2003.
couple bought a condominium in Mission Viejo and things
went well for awhile.
was working as an informational processing technician for
the Sheriff's Department, and Aaron as a civil-process technician
at Harbor Justice Center in Newport Beach.
in February, Amanda suffered a relapse.
then, rounds of radiation and chemotherapy to shrink an
inoperable tumor lodged behind her heart had decimated Amanda's
left lung and left her with only about half of her right
Twellmans got Amanda accepted into a clinical trial at the
prestigious Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Rochester, Minn.,
where she was one of 17 patients to be treated with an "orphan
drug," an experimental drug meant to treat a rare disease,
that had a 10 percent chance of saving her.
Dieppa, 24, spent every day at his wife's side in Minnesota
for about a month.
few weeks ago, her condition worsened. Doctors feared pneumonia
had set in. Amanda's weight had dropped to 97 from its normal
range of 115-120. She was 5 feet 8 inches tall.
June 24, Amanda finally felt strong enough to get on an
airplane and return home.
spent several days at home with sisters Lisa and Laura,
twin 20-year-olds; brother, Michael, 15; her father; and
her mother, Linda, 47.
was her mother's job to fatten her up," Tom Twellman
said Wednesday between phone calls to arrange for his first-born's
funeral on Saturday. "She always enjoyed mom's cooking."
got well enough to move in with Aaron and her in-laws in
Orange. The couple had to sell their condo to help pay for
on July 13, after taking another turn for the worse, she
was admitted to UCI Medical Center.
than 100 employees at the Sheriff's Department had donated
sick hours to allow Amanda to take extensive leaves, and
several were among the visitors to her hospital room during
her final hours, including Sheriff Mike Carona.
one evening, her friends and family escorted her outside
in her wheelchair so she could say goodbye to Buddy, the
Twellmans' beloved overweight Chihuahua.
were so many people who got to see her and say goodbye,"
Tom Twellman, 52, said. "We had that room packed. She
was never alone."
died while on a morphine drip. Her last words to her husband
were: "Live by faith, not sight."
looked at his cell phone.
was 5:33 p.m.," he said.
he said: "Amanda did not lose her battle against cancer.
She won her victory over death." Pastor Chuck Smith,
who married Amanda and Aaron, will preside at her funeral
at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Guests will be given a collection
of her poems.
of them, "Palm of Your Hand," reads, in part:
So I fought the good fight
And thought that I'd won
Ready to live
To turn and move on
Just to realize, I've only begun.