Drew DiDonato, 19 years young and beautifully autistic, was living his best life as an Iowa State freshman when a tragic electric skateboarding accident occurred. The accident ultimately took his life twelve days later on Wednesday, November 17, 2021.
For those of you who knew Drew you know he was his own person, one to not conform to other’s thoughts and ideas. Drew stayed true to himself, always. Drew passionately embraced diversity and was an advocate for the disabled. Below are a couple of quotes published by Drew on his personal Instagram page (@drewdidonato1):
“I am proud to be who I am. Many of my favorite qualities about myself are a direct result of my neurology. Normality is overrated. The aggregate knowledge and worth of a society is much greater with higher diversity.”
“Never be afraid to be yourself. Eccentricity is often penalized, curiosity often systematically eradicated. Those who choose to ignore those societal norms and go where others haven’t are the ones who truly enact change.”
Drew had the most amazing laugh and often laughed at his jokes louder than anyone else. He was quick witted, at times inappropriate but funny none the less. We will desperately miss the laughter he brought to our lives.
Drew loved photography, capturing amazing moments through his lenses – pictures we will cherish forever. Drew tutored hundreds of students in math and physics, he truly loved helping at any time day or night. His heart was deep and his kindness pure. He was pursuing a degree in psychology with the plans to pursue advanced degrees in neuroscience but instead, gave life to others through the selfless act of organ donation.
A loving brother to his sister Elli DiDonato, a cherished son of Jamie Fitzpatrick Campbell (Mike) and Bob DiDonato II (Ann), and a beloved dog owner to Duke, Violet, and Riley.
Drew also leaves behind his grandparents Sue DiDonato and Jim & Anne Fitzpatrick, great-grandmother Betty Fitzpatrick, stepbrothers and sisters Tyler & Grace Campbell and Pack, Elizabeth & Piers Davis, aunts and uncles Jennifer Fitzpatrick, Jim Fitzpatrick (Krystal), and Julie Gullo (Frank), cousins Jacob Canby, Katelyn Nikolaev (Dima), and Chris (Mariana) & Josh Gullo.
Preceding Drew in death is his loving grandfather, Robert (Bob) DiDonato, who we know welcomed him with a beautiful embrace. An embrace we all long for and will fully cherish when it is our time to join him again.
Drew – see you on the dark side of the moon.
A scholarship will be established to honor Drew’s life and allow his legacy to live on at the place he truly loved, Iowa State University, supporting students with disabilities. If you are interested in contributing, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/drew-didonato-memorial-isu-scholarship.
We sincerely thank the doctors and nurses of MercyOne in Des Moines, Iowa for taking such great care of Drew (and us) as he fought the good fight. Special thanks to the Iowa Donor Network for helping us ensure Drew lives on, your compassion and love was truly felt.
To honor Drew’s life a service will be held on Saturday, December 18, 2021 at Elmbrook Church, 777 S. Barker Rd., Brookfield, WI at 11:00 a.m. with visitation beginning at 9:30 a.m. A reception will follow at Elmbrook Church. Attire is very casual, Drew loved comfortable clothes (red was his favorite color) so please feel free to wear jeans, leggings, sweatshirts, tennis shoes, etc.
We will also have a celebration of life for Drew at a later date this coming summer, a day filled with everything Drew loved.