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Eagle Scout aids Burn Center patients

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Lucas Moore visits a patient at the UNC Burn Centerin Chapel Hill. Moore was a patient at the center in 2007.

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From Contributed Reports

Monday, May 15, 2017

Do you remember where you spent the month of May when you were 5 years old?

For Lucas Moore that is easy, as he spent the month in the UNC Burn Center ICU after being involved in a kitchen accident that resulted in 80 percent burn coverage of his body. It’s been 10 years and over 40 surgeries later and the memories of that event are still with Lucas and his family. Rather than looking at the situation as a hurdle or problem though, Lucas has embraced his life and has found a way to give back to the community that saved his life.

Lucas is now 15, and while many of his peers were out on dates or playing video games, Lucas set forth to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America. It wasn’t a hard choice for him to decide where he wanted to focus his service project as he wanted a way to give back to the Burn Center that has given him so much. In talking with the director of the UNC Burn Aftercare program, Anita Fields, he discovered that on average, the center treats 500 pediatric burn patients per year.

Lucas doesn’t remember much of his stay at UNC, but the one thing that has stuck with him the most is the fact that he felt alone in the world. He couldn’t imagine that there was anyone else in the world that had ever gone through what he went through, or anyone that would understand what he was feeling. Lucas set out to make sure that any child coming into the burn unit over the next year would know that they were not alone, and there is a support network waiting for them to help them in the next stages of life and recovery.

In order to fully embrace the burn survivor community, he asked the survivors at Camp Celebrate, a yearly burn survivor camp hosted by UNC for all pediatric burn survivors in North Carolina, to assist with creating care packages for the hospital. He set out looking for donations and raising money to have custom-made bags made and to fill them with small things of comfort and items to detract from the mundane day to day of the hospital life.

Ty, the makers Beanie Babies, donated 1,000 Beanie Babies to the project when they discovered that not only was Lucas burned in the accident, so was his favorite imaginary friend in the world, Karrots, a lime green Beanie Baby. In order to make the bags simple for the nursing staff, Ty donated two beanie babies per bag, one grey rabbit and one purple rabbit. In addition to the rabbits, coloring books and other small items, Lucas wrote a letter about his own story for in these bags.

“I want them to know they are not alone, that there is a new family waiting for them on the other side ready to walk this new journey with them,” Lucas said.

In addition to all this, the other survivors at Camp Celebrate also signed get well cards and put them in the bags so they know there are even more people out there who understand and are on the same journey.

The hospital invited Lucas to the burn unit to see the room he was in 10 years ago and to personally hand a package to a patient there at the hospital. While there, he was able to meet with the nurses and therapist that treated him 10 years ago and recreate a simple photo with his mom in the burn unit.

Lucas also spent time talking to a young patient in the hospital, one who felt like he was alone in the world and that there was no one else out there like him. Slowly, the worry left his face and smiles started to erupt as he discovered that there are others like him, that strangers care about what he is going through, and that here was someone standing with him that really could understand what he was going through.

At the end of the project, Lucas tallied up the final dollar amount and man hours and came just shy of $20,000 and over 750 man hours into his project. On May 2, Lucas sat in front of the Eagle Scout Board of Review to go over his project, to discuss the challenges and accomplishments made throughout and at the end of the meeting accomplished a goal made a decade earlier as a Cub Scout and became an Eagle Scout in Troop 11 of Rocky Mount.

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