Lina’s Story

Site created on July 24, 2019

Dear friends and family,

 With much heartache, we inform you that Lina has received a brain cancer diagnosis. We are simply stunned because to us, she isn’t just our wife, mom and grandmother, she is an unstoppable superhero.

 We knew something was wrong when her entire gaggle of children and grandchildren were coming to visit, and she didn’t have the energy to go to Costco or to make a dozen trays of manicotti by hand, or to plan each day’s itinerary down to the hour. If you know Lina, you know that she is ten times more productive than the average human. Frankly, she’s a freak of nature. Is this because she only sleeps a few hours a night? Maybe you, too, have noticed the 3 am timestamp on her e-mails. Whatever it is, everyone who becomes acquainted with her realizes quickly that she is an extraordinary woman, not merely because of what she can accomplish in one 24-hour period but because she has a heart of gold. She is the most caring person we know. Maybe we’re biased because we’re her family, but we suspect that many of you will agree, especially if you are one of those countless people who experienced her generosity first hand when she took you under her roof when you had nowhere to go, feeding you and even doing your laundry!  Perhaps this care for others is what fuels her to arise each morning and to throw herself into her work, her community, and into her family. Few people on this earth love the way Lina loves…unconditionally, sacrificially, and with a fierceness and courage that leaves us all in awe.

This is why the last few weeks have been so difficult for us. Her vivacious life, brimming with real estate closings and banter with grandchildren, has come to a screeching halt. When we gathered on July 6 as a family as we do each summer, with VJ and Jess from Charlotte and Michael and Alex from California, she was nowhere to be found. In her place was a woman detached and forlorn, staring off into space and speaking only when spoken too. She mistook her eldest grandchild for a younger one, and when asked how she was feeling, would answer “kind of blah.” She was displaying some cognitive difficulties which were affecting her work and had lost her appetite, eating barely once a day. We dragged her to the doctor who ordered an MRI, and within seven days, the course of our lives was altered forever.

Lina has a Grade 4 brain cancer called Glioblastoma Multiforme or GBM. She was rushed into surgery on July 20th, the morning after the neurosurgeon (the best one in Charleston, thank you God!)  read her imaging. He removed as much of the 5.5 cm tumor as he could, but the prognosis is a grim one. We will need wisdom and strength like never before as we find ourselves in unfamiliar territory where we are caring for our beautiful superhero rather than she caring for us.

Thank you all for showing your love and support thus far through this journey. Here’s how you can partner with us:

-Pray. God can do miracles. Pray for complete healing despite what the doctors say. Pray that our hearts stay soft to God’s will no matter what happens. Pray for clarity, and for God to be glorified through this precious woman’s life.

-Post your words of encouragement and blessing as comments on this site.   We will read your comments to Lina, so please pour your love out to her. Celebrate her. Encourage her. Recount stories and special times with her.  She will be blessed.

-We humbly ask you to refrain from contacting family directly with general inquiries, particularly Vince and Michele as they are currently overwhelmed.

-Let others know. Help us spread the word to the hundreds, if not thousands, of people whose lives have been touched by Lina. Forward this link or feel free to post on your social media:

-For those local in Charleston keep an eye out for signup requests for meals and other tasks. We thank you in advance for your help.


Newest Update

Journal entry by Barry Ammons

Family and friends will have an opportunity to celebrate the life of Lina this Saturday. A memorial service will be held at Old Fort Baptist Church, where Lina so faithfully served. 

The address is:

Old Fort Baptist Church
10505 Dorchester Road
Summerville, SC 29485

12:30-1:30         Visitation with the Costanzo Family
1:30-2:45           Celebration Service

Afterwards, there will be a drop-in at Coosaw Creek Country Club from 3:30-5:30. This will be an opportunity to visit with the Costanzo family and share your memories of Lina.

Coosaw Creek Country Club
4110 Club Course Drive
North Charleston, SC 29420

Coosaw Creek is a gated community. When you arrive at the gate, tell the security attendant that you are visiting the Costanzo family to pay your respects and you will be allowed through without a pass.

The family looks forward to seeing you on Saturday. Many thanks for all the prayers, condolences, and other acts of kindness during this time.  

In lieu of flowers, the Costanzo family kindly requests that donations be made to two of Lina's favorite charities; the Charleston Basket Brigade and St. Jude's Children's Hospital.

Lina was passionate about the Charleston Basket Brigade, which in conjunction with Carolina One, delivered holiday food baskets to thousands of families in need. She also faithfully supported St. Jude's as she intimately understood the needs of families dealing with childhood illness. 

St. Jude's donation website has a checkbox that will allow you to make the donation in memory of Lina. The family thanks you for your generosity.


St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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