Brave battle ends for Burbank High’s Swierczynski

Burbank High School sophomore Evie Swierczynski lost her battle with acute myeloid leukemia on Tuesday evening less than six months after her diagnosis.

The former John Muir Middle School student was 15 years old.

Evie’s father, Duane, tweeted Wednesday morning that the family’s “hearts are broken beyond words. Thank you for all of your love and support this year.”

Besides her father, Evie is survived by her mother, Meredith, and brother, Parker.

“People are blessed to have known her,” Burbank High principal Michael Bertram said. “As a parent, I would never want to think about losing a child, but there is no doubt she left her mark on the high school community. She will definitely be missed.”

Evie was a member of the school’s drama department, and the group created a tribute in her honor, according to Bertram.

“There was a small gathering and poster here, a memorial, where kids put handprints and left unique messages about her,” Bertram said.

“Both her mom and Parker were here the other day to see all the play production kids and to see [the memorial],” he added. Evie’s dad also attended, her mother said.

Bertram said Evie’s parents have discussed a celebration of life, but plans were not finalized as of Friday afternoon.

Roberta Reynolds, president of the Burbank Unified school board, dedicated the first few moments of a board meeting on Thursday to honor Evie.

“Meredith, Duane and Parker, we love you, and I don’t know what more we can say,” Reynolds said.

A video tribute was played, while Reynolds read a statement from Evie’s mother, who wrote that Evie’s “happiest time” was as an eighth-grader at John Muir Middle School, where she was encouraged to become a stronger math student, fell in love with the musical “Hamilton” and became an honors English student.

The note added that it had been “Evie’s dream” to graduate a year early so she could participate in the graduation ceremony with her brother before moving on to Columbia University.

Her family has asked that students and friends honor her memory by donating blood or platelets to Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, where Evie had been receiving care.

On May 30, the Swierczynski family received confirmation of Evie’s leukemia diagnosis.

A GoFundMe online account and Facebook page called “Team Evie” was set up to give medical updates, ask for donations and connect interested parties.

Over the last couple of days, condolence messages have been coming in.

“Evie was the kindest, sweetest and a stellar student,” said Wendy Vargas, Muir Middle School’s assistant principal. “She was a standout in our speech contest and gave an amazing speech at our eighth-grade promotion.”

Vargas added, “Evie walked around Muir with a smile on her face every single day and made a huge impact on our entire school community. She will be forever in our hearts.”

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