Teen patient gives back to hospital pediatric department

October 14, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Heroes

Teenage patients at Edward Hospital have a local Boy Scout to thank for a library full of books, journals and activity books.

Nathan Lichucki, 14, a sophomore at Walther Christian Academy, knows what it’s like to be hospitalized and bored.

The Lombard teen receives regular infusions at Edward Hospital to treat his rare disease. He has been coming to Edward Hospital every few weeks for more than eight years since his diagnosis. Following a treatment one day in August 2021, he had another stop to make when he delivered more than 700 items to the Child Life Department for a teen library to be used by pediatric patients at the hospital.

“Many times, kids are in the hospital for several days at a time,” Nathan says. “I thought that if kids could have something to occupy them at least for a while, that would be very beneficial.  I have been in the hospital lots of times, more than I can count, and you get super bored, especially when you start feeling better but cannot go home yet.”

Lichucki, a longtime Scout of Troop 202 in Lombard, who is working to achieve the highest rank of Eagle Scout, has been collecting donations for the teen library as part of his Eagle Scout Service Project. Only 4% of Scouts take on the rank of Eagle, and in order to do so, they have to plan, lead and execute a large-scale project that will impact their community in a positive way.

He worked with Edward Hospital’s Child Life Team to come up with a list of items for the library, including books for ages 12 - 17, blank journals, puzzle books (crossword, sudoku, etc.), small games, fidgets, paints and canvases, colored pencils/markers and adult coloring books.

Nina Sittler, CCLS, a certified Child Life Specialist at Edward Hospital, says she likes that Lichucki’s project focuses on an age group that is often overlooked for donations.

“A unique element that Nathan is incorporating are book series,” Sittler says. “We would often get individual books from a series but rarely the entire series. It will be nice to offer the entire series to one patient.”

Lichucki has sent letters to friends, families and businesses to request donations for the library. He has also set up an Amazon wish list that anyone can access and purchase items to ship to his home. He and his family expect to continue collecting donations on an ongoing basis to help keep the teen library stocked, and they bring them every few weeks when he comes in for treatment.

Lichucki has earned 71 merit badges to date — only 21 are required for the rank of Eagle Scout. On Oct. 6, Lichucki passed his Eagle Board of Review and is officially an Eagle Scout. His interest in Scouting was inspired by his four uncles, who all earned the rank of Eagle Scout and his grandfather, who was a Scoutmaster for 20 years.

Learn more about children’s services at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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