Fundraiser, Blood Drive Planned in Memory of Student

Photo courtesy Meredith Swierczynski
Evelyn “Evie” Swierczynski

When one student’s name was announced at this year’s Burbank High School graduation ceremony, it was met not with cheers, but silence.

The student wasn’t there to collect her diploma or walk across the stage to a wave of applause. Instead, when Evelyn Swierczynski was named, the audience quietly stood, taking a moment to honor the rising 10th-grader who, if she hadn’t died from acute myeloid leukemia in 2018, would have graduated with her class that day.

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Centenarian Celebrates Joyful Dawn of Post-Pandemic Life

Photos courtesy Keck Medicine of USC
For her 101st birthday in March, longtime Pasadena resident Dorothy Rusch got a visit from Dr. Laura Mosqueda — who gifted the centenarian with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine against COVID-19. Mosqueda, a geriatrician with Keck Medicine of USC, said she believes the coronavirus pandemic will force society to rethink how it treats its elderly.

For her 101st birthday, Dorothy Rusch took a shot.
No, it wasn’t a shot of her favorite beverage, and it certainly wasn’t a Jell-O shot. Instead, the longtime Pasadena resident proudly received a shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine on her birthday, the perfect gift after more than a year of upheaval and anxiety from the coronavirus pandemic and the isolation it entailed.
“That was a really special present,” Rusch said in a recent interview, just days after her birthday via Zoom. “I’m here, and I’m glad I’m here.”
The vaccine was not the only gift Rusch received that weekend. Outside of her home on Euclid Avenue — where she has lived since 1964 — her children had something of a party set up for the family matriarch, while friends drove by to wish her the happy birthday they had been unable to for her centennial the prior year.
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