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Eagle Scout Gives Back to Hospital Where He Was Treated

by Meredith Goshell for the Alamo Area BSA: September 13, 2016 

One of the characteristics highlighted in Scout Law is bravery. No one knows that trait more than Christopher, an Eagle Scout who used his lifelong illness as inspiration for his Eagle Scout service project. He was diagnosed with common variable immune deficiency (CVID) at the early age of 7. His mother, Marcy, says that he was a sickly child, constantly having “sinus infections, ear infections, and pneumonia starting at the age of 18 months…We were lucky it was caught early; for this genetic condition, most people don’t get diagnosed until their teens or early adulthood.”

The doctor told him he would have to go through weekly four-hour plasma infusions for the rest of his life. While going through one of these grueling procedures at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, a kind child life specialist gifted him with something that would change his life forever: a blue teddy bear that he named Baxter; custom made with pretend needles and a plasma bag. This small gift comforted Christopher throughout his life and ultimately sparked the idea for his Eagle Scout service project in August of 2015.

"Scouting offered him an opportunity to be a boy and just live and enjoy life through some pretty cool outdoor adventures like dog sledding at Okpik within the Boy Scout's high adventure base, Northern Tier," said Marcy Roca, mother and volunteer Scout leader.  

Christopher first found Boy Scouts in the 4th grade and has loved it ever since. After 5 years in the program, he received his Eagle Scout by reflecting back on Baxter and the comfort that he provided. “I will always remember the difference Baxter made for me,” said Christopher. “Now I want to give back to the children what I was given. I hope my project will bring comfort to patients in the Hospital like Baxter did for me.”

At the age of 16, he managed to plan, execute, and eventually exceed, his goal of creating 200 Comfort Bears, modeled after Baxter himself. These teddy bears were a myriad of colors and given to the sick children in the very hospital where Christopher had been treated years ago. He recruited countless volunteers and raised hundreds of dollars that would help him buy the supplies needed to create the bears. He also decided to put his own personal touch on the bear by adding scriptures of the donor’s choice in the stuffing.

“I raised funds by asking people to sponsor a bear for $2.50,” Christopher declared. “With each sponsorship, the donor was able to submit their favorite scripture of comfort to be put inside the bear. I wanted to include scripture so that the bears would be blessed by God’s Holy Words and hopefully the children would be comforted by that blessing.”

He delivered the 200 bears and $150 in excess fundraising money in October of 2015 to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. “He always found a way to earn his Scout merit badges-even if they weren’t Eagle requirements,” Marcy confided proudly. “He’s living his best life, while improving the lives of others. We couldn’t be prouder.”

Photo Credit: Childhood Hospital Memory Inspires GiftExternal Link
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