One of the few respites Burbank High School student Evie Swierczynski enjoyed while undergoing treatment for leukemia at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles was borrowing and reading books from the facility’s library.
Swierczynski’s family and friends decided to honor her love of literature by hosting a two-day book donation drive at Dark Delicacies, a horror bookstore in Burbank, on Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re good friends of Evie’s parents and to have a book drive here is an honor,” said Del Howison, co-owner of Dark Delicacies.“On top of that, the point of this store has been that it’s a gathering place for like-minded people, and Evie loved horror books.”
The Burbank High sophomore passed away Oct. 30 after a short battle with acute myeloid leukemia at the age of 15. She is survived by her father, Duane, mother, Meredith, and brother, Parker, a Burbank High junior.
The former John Muir Middle School standout was diagnosed with the disease May 30.
Dozens of crates of books from different children’s genres — including science fiction, fantasy and humor — were donated by individuals and businesses over the weekend and will be heading to Children’s Hospital in Swierczynski’s memory.
Dark Delicacies listed the total as “over 500 books” on its website.
“At the hospital, they would send a book cart around every day, and the kids would pick a book a day and sometimes that would deplete the collection,” said Sue Howison, another co-owner of Dark Delicacies. “We wanted to do our part in Evie’s honor.”
The Burbank Teacher Assn. also donated books to the drive, while making a special designation for schools where Swierczynski attended.
“Children’s Hospital said we weren’t allowed to put anything inside the books to dedicate to Evie,” Diana Abasta, association president, said.
“So, we’re going to continue our donation to the hospital, but we’re also donating a book to Burbank and Muir’s libraries in Evie’s memory with an inscription,” she added.
Burbank High also accepted book donations, with members of the Associated Student Body setting up collection boxes in the school’s library.
“I didn’t know Evie personally, but I’ve talked to members of the drama department and have become close with many through this tragedy because Evie was in drama,” Aleko Brice, Burbank High’s student body president, said.
“We’re trying to put a plaque in the school to honor her and all these efforts touch my heart. We want to keep her legacy alive,” Brice added.