Student’s faith inspires

Daniella Saveski was a devout Christian, family member, friend and student. Friends and family say she had an outgoing personality, vibrant smile and a continuously positive outlook on life.

After a two and a half year battle with cancer, Saveski, a Sterling Heights resident and Oakland University communication student, passed away last month.

She was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in late September of 2007, 11 days before her 19th birthday.

Religious convictions

Faith had always played a role in Saveski’s life, but it was this life-altering diagnosis that truly impacted her devotion.

This change was exceptionally clear when Ashley Lorano, one of Saveski’s closest friends, received a text message from her saying, “They say I have cancer, Ashley, but don’t worry, in Jesus name, I am healed.”

“I have been a Christian my whole life and I am the one who Daniella always looked to for spiritual guidance,” Lorano said. “We would talk about God and different religions, but I never imagined that she could teach me how to become a stronger follower of Jesus.”

Even when those around her were uncertain of the future, Saveski was the one who would constantly encourage everyone around her to stay abundant in their faith.  

She remained strong, never letting those around her fear the situation, but rather helping them in their personal struggles.

Oakland Christian Church became a cornerstone in her daily life, and it is there where she met Pastors Dominic and Amira Russo, who became vital role models to Saveski.

After attending church at OCC, Saveski and Lorano began going to The Gathering, a group for young adults.

These services helped Saveski grow spiritually and find her passion for missionary work.

Missionary work

After a year of going to The Gathering and inviting friends to join her, Saveski decided it was time to share her testimony with others around the world.

In April of 2008, she went on a missionary trip to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where she spoke of her healing to nearly 10,000 people.

One defining moment of the trip was when Saveski was asked to visit a local hospital to pray for a sick patient. Immediately upon entering the room, Saveski jumped onto the woman’s bed and began praying

enthusiastically over her. 

After returning home from Bolivia, Saveski’s passion for preaching grew even stronger. She continued to visit other churches, as well as meeting people in their homes and sending uplifting messages through e-mail and Facebook.

Lasting impression 

One of Saveski’s most redeeming qualities was her strength in light of the situation at hand, both during her time as a student at Michigan State University and her stay at OU. 

“She would go to State for classes, then come home for treatments, ” Lorano said. “It was hard on her sometimes, but nothing was going to keep her from doing the things she set out to do, especially when it came to helping others.”

In such a difficult time, like the months following Saveski’s diagnosis, her family grew closer than they had ever been. Her parents, Bob and Mary, and younger sisters, Missy and Jessie, became her strongest support system.

While Saveski had a noticeable impact on those who knew her, she even received messages from people that had never met her but knew her story.

Nowhere was this impact more clear than in the words of her mother, Mary Saveski.

“She was my hero,” she said.

The impression that Saveski left was also evident to the professors she had during her time at Oakland.

“One of her aspirations after high school was to go to Michigan State, but she always valued the times she had at Oakland,” her mother said. “When she was first going through everything, she would always talk about how the Oakland professors were so good to her. They really cared.”

Lorano plans on having a fundraising event on her birthday in honor of Saveski. She hopes to raise money for cancer awareness or for a local family struggling with the disease.

One of Saveski’s favorite quotes, “I am third. God is first, others are second, and I am third,” was truly indicative of her devotion to her faith and helping others. To those who knew her, this quote stands as a testament to the legacy Saveski left.