Christopher Naimo '23

You just never know what life is going to drop in your lap. For Holy Family University second-degree accelerated nursing student Christopher Naimo '23, who will complete his BSN this October, the uncertainties that life has delivered to him have been fiercely challenging, frightfully difficult and immensely fulfilling.

Christopher Naimo '23,

Watching the Twin Towers collapse on September 11, 2001 while a sophomore in high school, Naimo heeded a call to service and, upon graduation, enlisted in the Army and completed two deployments to Iraq. It was a fiercely challenging decision. 

Returning home, Naimo worked in the oil fields of Texas, helping his wife, Caitlin, (whom he married in 2008) through nursing school. He used his GI benefits to earn an undergraduate degree in criminal justice and returned to the Philadelphia area in 2015, where he grew up, to complete a master’s in criminal justice at Temple University. 

Three years into career as a private investigator, where he worked to uncover insurance fraud, Naimo was diagnosed with testicular cancer that advanced and required aggressive chemotherapy and several surgeries. He developed blood clots in both lungs, battled an unknown infection and went into congestive heart failure. He was 34 years old. It was frightfully difficult. On July 2, 2021, Naimo was deemed cancer free. 

At 6:30 p.m. on September 8, 2022, the Naimos received a call from their adoption agency that they were going to become parents overnight. They welcomed their son, CJ, through what is called a “drop in the lap.” Fatherhood has been immensely fulfilling. 

“My journey, my life has been very interesting,” Naimo said. “After 9-11, I felt a calling to serve my country. After surviving cancer, I felt a calling to give back. The treatment that I received at the Perelman Center at the University of Pennsylvania, the care that I received from doctors and nurses and advanced practice providers gave me a second chance at life. I don’t think, if I hadn’t been up here and at Penn, that my life would have turned out the way that it did. I want to give someone else the second chance at life that I got. That’s why I enrolled at Holy Family. 

“My professors here took great pride in their teaching,” he continued. “They took pride in giving us the education that we deserved. They have worked hard to make us better students, to make us, hopefully one day, colleagues. It’s been challenging going to classes on nights and weekends, while my wife was finishing her DNP (at West Chester University in electrophysiology. Appropriately, she graduated on Mother’s Day last spring), with a new baby (and a dog that they adopted two weeks before their son’s arrival). It was hard. Life is hard, but it is achievable, if you have faith in your professors that they will get you through and that you can be successful.”

Naimo now needs to make a determination on what area of healthcare he feels called to. 

“I really like critical care, so maybe I’ll work in the operating room or some sort of cardiac ICU,” he said. “I enjoy learning, and I enjoy helping. Without my wife I wouldn’t be here or in this program or in this profession. I am so grateful, and I just want to help people because so many people have helped me.”