Durham- On Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 11:10pm, the de Lima family gained a guardian angel. Derek John de Lima, the first born son of Edward and Danette de Lima, was finally set free from a lifelong struggle against a terminal, genetic disease known as Cystic Fibrosis at the age of 29.
Originally from Greenwood Lake, NY, Derek was no stranger to difficulties in life. Born three months premature, Derek fought from his initial birth until the very end, battling many demons both physical and emotional. At age 11, his family relocated to Woodstock, GA before moving to Durham, NC at age 28 in hopes of obtaining a double lung transplant from Duke University.
As a child, Derek had a unique curiosity about the world and how it operated as well as an innate, artistic talent that he used to fill up hundreds of notebooks with his sketches. He loved cartoon superheroes and fantastical stories that helped him live in a reality unlike his own. He connected with characters who fought for their lives, and he transformed their motivation into his own.
Derek loved the people around him quietly and with actions more than words. He had an intense love for global cultures, extreme lust for language, and a deep appreciation for art. In his last days, when questions with what his life was meant for, he let everyone know it was to protect and influence his younger brother both in reality and spiritual realms.
Derek is survived by his father Edward A de Lima, his mother Danette (Amorosi) de Lima, his brother Devin de Lima and his sister Theresa (de Lima) Whitton. The family plans to have Derek cremated and spread his ashes over the Catskill Mountains in upstate New York by Derek’s request, where he will forever be able to be free in the wind.
He is free. He will never have another infection. He will never to be anxious, depressed, or lonely. He will never struggle to breathe again or be dependent on oxygen tanks. Derek is truly free, and while the world will never be the same without him, he helped make it an immensely better place while he was here.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, or your local ASPCA. Arrangements for the de Lima family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham, NC.