Colleen Margaret Satterlee, age 40, passed away from life to Life at Yale New Haven Hospital on December 12, 2018 in the arms of her loved ones after a long illness. Colleen is survived by her loving mother, Cecilia Zurhellen of Milford, her beloved older brother Keith Satterlee of West Haven, CT and Long Island, her loving aunt and uncle Carol and Cliff Bryan of Hobe Sound, FL, her sister-in-law, Tammy Theis of Milford, her very special nephew and niece, Nate and Julia Satterlee of Milford, uncles Steve Satterlee of Alaska and Jeff Satterlee of New York. She also leaves behind many beloved extended family members and her special “tribe”, friends from college who supported her throughout her journey. She is predeceased by her father Bruce Satterlee, her brother Sean, who also had Fanconi Anemia, maternal grandparents Edward and Cecilia Zurhellen and paternal grandparents Ed and Betty Satterlee. Colleen was born with a genetic disease, Fanconi Anemia, which required a bone marrow transplant at age 12 in Paris, France. While the transplant was successful, she lived with the effects of the disease her entire life. She died secondary to bronchiolitis obliterans of the lung which was caused by chronic graft vs. host disease, diagnosed by doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City. She was being treated there since January 2018. Colleen was born October 29, 1978, raised in Milford, CT and attended Central Grammar School and graduated from Foran High School. Thereafter, she earned her BSN at UCONN Storrs. She was a Certified Pediatric Hematology/Oncology nurse. This was more than a career for Colleen, but a life-long calling to work with young children who were ill and battling diseases. Upon graduation she worked at Yale New Haven Hospital with infant/toddlers. Thereafter, she became a travel nurse in Massachusetts, Wisconsin, Washington DC, and Manhattan. Five years ago she discontinued traveling and accepted a permanent position at Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, NY. Colleen was a very dedicated and compassionate nurse, who was able to relate to her patients’ struggles because of her own. She was a comfort and inspiration to many. Colleen was a world traveler, always eager for a new adventure, traveling extensively with family and friends. She was very adventuresome, as evidenced by skydiving, zip lining, snorkeling, and just a year ago, hang gliding and going on the Nevis Swing in New Zealand. Colleen loved theme parks and the challenge of the most daring roller coasters. Her other loves included camping and especially an annual camping trip in New Hampshire with her brother and niece. Colleen was a consummate sailor, who loved all water sports, including jet skiing. She was also an avid downhill skier and loved snowmobiling. Favorite pastimes included biking and hiking. In her early years, Colleen enjoyed horseback riding, especially on the beach in Hawaii. Colleen began formal dance lessons at the age of three through high school and was a lover of all animals including her cats Phoebe and Jasper. She appreciated the beauty of nature and was always the one who stopped to smell the roses. Colleen always knew her life would not be as long as most. The average longevity of those with FA is presently 32 years old. She lost many friends in the FA community over the last few years. Yet, realizing this, she lived life to the fullest and had such a zest for life. Her sense of humor was unparalleled. Colleen was brave, courageous, spunky, resilient, loving, caring and compassionate. She faced her most recent illness with acceptance and peace, but remained positive until the end, and was an inspiration to the many lives she touched. Colleen frequently commented how blessed she was to still be alive and reach her 40th birthday, which was celebrated with a large gathering of family and friends. Colleen requested a celebration of life in lieu of funeral services. This will be announced at a later date. It has always been paramount to Colleen that a cure be found for FA. Colleen and her family request that any memorials/donations be sent to Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, 1801 Williamette Street, Suite 200, Eugene, OR 97401 or on the website www.fanconi.org. Please note in memory of Colleen Satterlee on any donations. To offer condolences please email the family at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are what we leave behind. Fly to heaven Colleen!
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