Luke Snider is giving back to the hospital that has done so much for him.
The junior donated $3,555 to the Advocate Charitable Foundation on Thursday, the proceeds from a garage sale fundraiser he led in September. The money is intended for use by the Cranial Facial Clinic at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge.
Luke, who was born with a cleft lip and palate, has endured 18 surgeries throughout his life. The most recent occurred two and a half weeks before the school year started, and involved having his jaw broken and reset. He is scheduled for another operation next summer.
Through his many surgeries and follow-up visits at the hospital, Luke noticed many other youngsters in similar situations. The September garage sale, which had a goal of raising $1,000, was organized to help them.
He presented the fundraising check to two of his plastic surgeons, Dr. Frank Vicari and Dr. Sanjay Naran. Luke has been a patient of Dr. Vicari since he was 2 years old, and Dr. Naran conducted the most recent surgery.
“I am so happy that this garage sale raised substantial funds to help other kids at the Cranial Facial Clinic requiring surgery and medical attention,” Luke said. “It was a lot of work and a lot of effort to make this garage sale successful, but I know that it was totally worth it.”
One unexpected benefit of the garage sale effort was the influence Luke was able to have on a 5-year-old boy who also was born with a cleft lip and palate. His father saw a copy of the fundraiser flyer Luke created, and asked if he could meet with his son. The boy was scheduled to have surgery this month.
“Our families met and the little 5-year-old took immediately to Luke like an old friend,” said Connie Snider, Luke’s mother. “They played baseball together and it was a very special meeting. Luke definitely has a new little friend and more importantly, someone to help, as this little boy has quite a journey and many more surgeries in his future.”
Luke serves as a mentor in Stevenson’s Freshman Mentor Program, and also plays on the SHS baseball team.
In the photo above, Luke presents a donation check to one of his plastic surgeons, Dr. Frank Vicari.