Last July, Mt. Lebanon native David Bannon, 34, spent the final two weeks of his life in the intensive care unit of Georgetown Medical Center in Washington, D.C.
“Due to COVID, we couldn’t be there with him,” his mother, Christine Patti, recalled. “I firmly believe that people need your touch and they need your voice. They need to know you’re there. And he was alone.”
Although David did not have COVID-19, the pandemic’s precautionary measures inhibited contact.
“I was very fortunate that Georgetown Medical Center had many very compassionate individuals,” Patti said. “But they weren’t there hugging him and holding his hand. He was by himself until the very end.”
To honor his memory and celebrate his life, members of his family are holding a food drive from July 24-28 to benefit the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. A memorial Mass is scheduled for 7 a.m. July 28, the date of his passing, at St. Bernard’s Church, St. Michael the Archangel Parish, in Mt. Lebanon.
His family also organized a collection of food in 2020.
“David always donated, and he always wanted to make sure that people who are in need received help,” Patti said. “He would be very happy to know that we are doing this again with the food drive, because last year was extremely successful. We had enough to donate for 65,000 meals.”
This year, Patti reported $6,000 in contributions had been received two-and-a-half weeks before the start of the actual drive.
“My main message is to thank so many people for caring,” she said. “And in return, and knowing what David would want, I want to be able to turn this around into a positive.”
A 2004 graduate of Mt. Lebanon High School and 2008 University of Pittsburgh graduate, David had worked since 2015 as team leader of commercial applications engineering for multinational biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca.
His best friend in the Pittsburgh area, Billy Leckenby, provided Patti with observations about her son, which she said “describe him perfectly.
“Dave was a funny, smart, witty and extremely loyal person. He did what he wanted, and that made him who he was. He was ethical, hard-working, and a math and computer science genius, which made him very successful in the business world,” Patti said Leckenby recalled of her son.
“He would do anything for his friends and family. His loyalty, humor and generosity are the things I remember best about him. He was a dear friend.”
When she returned home to Mt. Lebanon last summer, Patti received plenty of support from friends and neighbors. But again, the pandemic limited what they could do.
“Everyone tried their best, but a lot of people had to do it from afar,” Patti said, including family members in other states who were unable to travel. “I had a full church at St. Bernard’s with masks on, and people came out. But then nobody congregated because of it.”
A retired Mt. Lebanon School District principal and California University of Pennsylvania professor, Patti has volunteered for Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank’s Produce to People program. Although it is inactive because of the pandemic, the program generally holds distributions in places including Washington, Greene and Fayette counties.
“That’s why we had chosen the food bank,” Patti said. “They’re just wonderful. They’re wonderful people to work for, and anything they can do to help others. It’s amazing, the organization they have.”
She also spoke highly of what people are doing on behalf of herself, her family and David.
“The outpouring has been tremendous,” Patti said. “I’m lucky to live in this great community with such tremendous support.”
For more information about the David T. Bannon Memorial Food Drive and to donate, visit secure.qgiv.com/event/vfdimodtb/donate.