Book Drive Honoring ‘Evie’ Benefits Young Patients

Photos courtesy Meredith Swierczynski
An annual book drive is being held in memory of Evelyn “Evie” Swierczynski, a Burbank High School student who died of leukemia in 2018. Reading, which was one of her joys, became especially important when she was a patient at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, whose Literally Healing program provided her with books while she underwent treatment.

Evelyn “Evie” Swierczynski loved to read.
Wendy Vargas, assistant principal at John Muir Middle School, where Evie attended 8th grade, said she always had a book in her hand. Her mother, Meredith, said she often had a stack of tomes nearby.
Evie still loved books when she was at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, having been diagnosed with leukemia just after finishing her freshman year at Burbank High School, where she was in the theater program, in 2018. Even when the chemotherapy made concentrating on reading hard, Meredith Swierczynski said, she and the rest of the family appreciated having them.
Staff members and volunteers with the hospital’s Child Life program would bring Evie DVDs, games and crafts, while the CHLA Literally Healing program provided a new book every day. The latter was a particularly encouraging initiative, Swierczynski said in a phone interview. When Evie was in treatment and couldn’t leave her room on some days, a volunteer could come in wearing a gown and gloves and offer her a book.

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