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The Thomas A. Costello Legacy Foundation

The Thomas A. Costello Legacy Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to carrying on the legacy of Thomas A. Costello who passed away unexpectedly in an accident on June 11, 2021.  Thomas was a proud 2019 graduate of U of W, Madison where he graduated with a triple degree and was an investment banker in New York City. Tom was smart, had an unparalleled work ethic, with a zest for life.  He continued to mentor students at Madison who were interested in getting into investment banking and was actively involved in the recruiting process for Rothschild & Co. He also had a huge heart and was passionate about giving back to others and making the world a better place.  He was a remarkable person who made a bigger impact on the world in 24 years than most make in a lifetime. This foundation has been formed to live out his legacy by giving out scholarships to his high school alma-mater (Chaska High School) and U of W, Madison where he was actively involved in clubs, organizations, and volunteering. Tom was also passionate about several organizations including Make-A-Wish and various cancer organizations and the foundation will also be supporting some of these organizations.

Tom was born in St. Louis Park, MN on May 21, 1997, to Pat and Beth Costello. He was welcomed home by big sister, Ashley, who was 18 months older, and the family became complete four years later when Sarah was born.  Tom spent his entire childhood living in Chaska, MN, and attended his entire elementary and high school years at Chaska.  Tom was a voracious reader at a young age and always loved and excelled in school. He loved to be challenged and was very involved in numerous clubs and activities in high school. He joined a Tae Kwon Doe team when he was in 3rd grade and worked his way up through the ranks and earned his 5th-degree black belt in college.  He was very active and became captain of Chaska’s Knowledge Bowl and Quiz Bowl teams (earning a trip to Nationals his senior year), became Vice President of DECA, and earned a trip to state every year as well as Nationals his junior and senior year. He became involved in Relay for Life his freshmen year and was a captain of a team all through high school, and was on the executive team his junior and senior year of high school. He was also a runner-up to the National Merit Award.

The summer before Tom’s sophomore year of high school, he was not feeling well and had numerous Dr. appointments and tests, but the doctors were not able to figure out what was going on. After running a high-grade fever, on October 24, 2012, Tom was diagnosed with Stage 3B Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. When he was given the diagnosis, he told his new oncologist, Dr. Bostrom, that he needed to go for a walk, but promised to come back within 5 minutes.  When Tom walked back into the office, he said, “Ok, what is the game plan so that I can beat this cancer?”  That was the attitude that Tom kept throughout his treatment.  Tom went back to Chaska that afternoon, went up to his high school as soon as classes were done, and personally went from teacher to teacher to tell him about his new diagnosis and wanted to get a game plan in place of how he would keep his grades up and keep up with his studies.  The next day he was back at Children’s hospital in Minneapolis, had a PET Scan done, a port implanted, and started chemo the following day. His chemo treatments consisted of three days of in-patient hospitalization with 8 hours of chemo on day 1, 8 hours of chemo on day 2, and 6 hours of chemo on day 3.  On day 8, he would go back to Children’s for 2-3 hours of chemo.  This cycle happened every 21 days for 6 rounds of chemo.  During Tom’s chemo treatments he would always request to have them happen over a weekend and there was usually a random Friday or Monday off during the month that allowed him to get chemo over a three-day weekend to avoid having to miss too much school.  For his 8th day of chemo, he would attend school all day and then head down to Children’s for 2-3 hours of chemo. Tom also had GCFE shots for five days during each round of chemo to try to stimulate his white blood cells. During his six rounds of chemo, Tom only missed six days of school.   He was given the great news on February 25, 2013, that he was in remission. He continued to do PT at Children’s Hospital for the next year to gain strength and flexibility in his hands and legs from the chemo treatments.   He told his parents years later, that he knew where every bathroom was in the school from each of his classrooms during his sophomore year of chemo and often times, would excuse himself from class, throw up from being so nauseous from the chemo treatment, brush his teeth with a toothbrush he kept in his locker and head back to class to finish up his school day.   School was his safe place and his studies were something that he could control during this big health scare. 

Tom found out in the middle of his chemo treatments, that he was eligible for a Make-A-Wish trip. One misconception is that MAW is just for terminal illnesses. On February 26, 2013, Tom found out that he was getting his MAW trip of going to Rome to see the Vatican. It was the perfect timing and news to have something to look forward to after several months of nonstop treatments and distress.

Tom finished out his sophomore year of high school with a new zest for life and a passion to make the most of his life.  In June of 2013, our family of five was fortunate to go to Rome, Italy, and saw so many unbelievable sites and things that took our breath away.  We spent our days touring the historic sites and learning history lessons from Tom including stopping at numerous gorgeous cathedrals around each corner. We spent the evenings having long dinners and conversations about life.

Tom returned to Chaska High School for his junior and senior year of high school where he continued to work hard in class and was very involved in activities and clubs. He was co-founder of Birthday Buddies which was a program that high school students went into nursing homes in the Twin Cities area and celebrated birthdays with residents.  He became a Make-A-Wish spokesperson and traveled throughout the Twin Cities giving speeches on how MAW had impacted his life to try and convince companies to make MAW one of its corporate sponsors. He also became a speaker for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, became a survivor speaker for Relay For Life. He was chosen to give his high school commencement speech, and graduated from high school in 2015 with 13 AP classes, and graduated Magna cum laude.

Tom started college at the University of Wisconsin, Madison in September of 2015, where he met many lifelong friends.  He was involved in numerous activities and clubs including two that he helped to found- Insights Wisconsin and The Federal Reserve Challenge club.  He was proud to be in the Wisconsin School of Business and thrived in college. He studied abroad in Seville, Spain, during his junior year of college and realized his passion for traveling the world.  While studying abroad, he traveled to numerous countries and saw sites that he described as “took his breath away”.  He honed his Spanish skills and made many lifelong friends while visiting various countries. Back on campus, he continued to be captain of Relay for Life Teams and was also chosen to give the Survivor speech. He continued his involvement with Make-A-Wish and became a wish granter with his sister, Ashley in Wisconsin. He became involved in the Federal Reserve Challenge and went on to compete in Washington. Tom was also selected to give a Tedx speech in college called, "Maximizing Your Coefficient In Life" where the message was that things will happen to you in life that you do not have control over, but you do have control over how you react to the situation. He did an internship in NYC with Rothschild & Co. during the summer of 2018 and received a full-time job offer. He graduated with a triple major and graduated Summa cum laude in May of 2019. 

He moved to NYC in July of 2019 to start his dream job of working as an investment banker on Wall Street.  He moved to London for 4 weeks for training and made many life-long friends from around the globe.  He loved his life in NYC, worked long hours, and worked hard to earn the respect of his clients and managers at Rothschild & Co. Tom was known for his sharp skills, strong work ethic, inclusiveness, willingness to help anyone who was struggling with understanding a concept or how to do an analysis, positive attitude, and ability to make people laugh during stressful times. He volunteered to go back to Madison on recruiting trips for Rothschild & Co. and worked hard to keep up relationships with professors in the finance department and build relationships with top students interested in getting into investment banking. He spent hours mentoring potential interns doing mock interviews and doing anything else he could do to foster confidence and skills in top-tier students. He also spent long hours between his own working schedule to make sure that the younger bankers were getting the support that they needed during Covid when they could not get the one of one training that they would usually receive. With Tom’s help, Rothschild & Co. had the highest number of interns from Madison over any other university.

Tom’s had accepted a new position with CarVal as a Hedge Fund Analyst.  His last day with Rothschild & Co. was on June 10, 2021, and he had the trip of a lifetime planned for the summer traveling the world before starting his new position on September 6, 2021.  He flew home to Minnesota and had a fun weekend planned at the family cabin with some college buddies and they were scheduled to do the Chippewa National Triathlon

 Competition on Saturday, June 12.  On Friday, June 11, Tom was a skilled water skier and was waterskiing on very calm waters and had a minor wipeout.  He suffered a traumatic brain injury and passed away on June 11, 2021.  He had been very upfront with his family and friends that he wanted to be an organ donor and his family was able to honor his wishes.  The family did not get their miracle of Tom recovering, but they were able to give several other families their miracle through Tom’s generous donation of life.

Tom was a remarkable one in a million son, brother, cousin, nephew, friend, and co-worker.  He had the ability to make everyone feel special and that what you said was important. He wanted to make sure that everyone felt included and not left out. Many people considered him to be their best friend. He always had time to listen to what was stressing you out, was good at giving level-headed advice, was patient and slow to anger. He was hard on himself, but that is because he had high standards for himself.

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