Throughout their lives, Crescenta Valley High School seniors Keegan Schmit, Krish Shah and Lauren Kosco have encountered heroes at hospitals.
Schmit underwent surgery and Shah endured a serious injury over the years, while Kosco was raised by a medical practitioner.
Those circumstances played a big role in the formation of an off-campus club called Hospital Heroes, which aims to help children in medical need through activities and fundraisers.
The club is trying to raise $500 to donate to the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Child Life program, which strives to meet the social and emotional needs of patients and parents through counseling and play.
There are also pizza fundraisers and blood drives for the American Red Cross on the horizon.
“I wanted to establish a club that would give back and help students because I remember how much I was helped,” Schmit said.
Schmit said he was 11 years old when he was taken to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for a hernia surgery, which was delayed for hours.
As time passed, Schmit recalled growing tired and anxious. However, some fast-acting helpers came to his rescue.
“I think some of the doctors and nurses saw that I was really nervous so they wheeled out an Xbox 360 (gaming console) and a TV,” Schmit said.
“I remember how important that was for me, and I was able to calm down,” he added.
Hospital Heroes was initially formed by Schmit in the eighth grade when he was attending Rosemont Middle School.
The idea was for Schmit and some of his friends to don costumes as superheroes and visit local hospitals to surprise sick children.
“Initially, we were thinking about dressing up like Spider-Man and Iron Man for little kids,” Shah said. “But it’s grown into so much more now with blood drives and fundraisers.”
Shah, a member of the Crescenta Valley High boys’ varsity tennis team, badly sprained his ankle stepping on a tennis ball his junior year, and the injury needed three months to heal.
During the recovery process, Shah said he was so grateful for the work of doctors and nurses that he felt the need to repay a debt, thus joining Hospital Heroes.
“I’ve always wanted to give back, medically, but I’m not a doctor,” Shah said. “This is the next best thing.”
Counting herself lucky, Kosco said she hasn’t suffered a major injury or needed any surgeries.
However, she has spent her fair share of time in hospitals and doctor’s offices with her mother, Dr. Kim Tran, a physician at Kaiser Permanente.
“I’ve seen the inner workings of the hospital, so I knew that help is always needed, especially for younger children and high school students,” Kosco said. “I thought that I could be useful.”
Kosco has been responsible for getting the word out before events.
The group set a goal to encourage 50 people to sign up for a blood drive that was held July 5 at the Lutheran Church in the Foothills in La Cañada Flintridge.
Kosco estimates about 60 people donated blood to the Red Cross that day.
“I’ve volunteered at hospitals before, and I’ve seen the need for the blood and so that’s what kind of drove me,” Kosco said.
“It’s been very rewarding just to know that something you’re doing is actually applicable,” she added.
Hospital Heroes members include Andrew Boyle, Abel Lai, Solomon Kim and Tyler Carlson. The group is always looking to expand, Schmit said.
“The more we have, the more we can give back,” he said.