Young man helping others after overcoming adversity

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Stefan Thegeby is quite a remarkable young man...

Stefan Thegeby is quite a remarkable young man. Diagnosed just a year ago with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare disease in which cancer cells are found in the bone and/or in soft tissue, he was treated at St. Luc’s hospital in Brussels. Volunteers would come by with games and DVD’s but these items were only available in French and Dutch. The library also only contained French and Dutch-language books.

As there were many other non-Belgian children in the unit, Stefan decided to take on the task of collecting books, games and DVDs in other languages once he was done with his treatments. The project fit perfectly with his wish to become an Eagle Scout and so he started working on posters and asked people at his school, St. John’s International School in Waterloo, to help with the promotion of his project.

St. John’s is the sponsor of Boy Scout Troop 149. Currently the group counts 15 boys who meet Tuesday nights for 90 minutes. The Troop is bilingual with English and French-speaking members. There are many activities, especially in the outdoors: camping, canoeing, biking, hiking and indoor climbing. They learn skills associated with these activities: setting a course through terrain, first aid, making campfires safely, ourdoor cooking, building a bivouac, learning to rely on each other and basic survival skills. In April, over 2,000 scouts and families attended a campout on Omaha Beach in Normandy, an event which happens every three years.

Most events take place during the school year, but they do attend a one-week residence camp during the summer in England, Germany or Switzerland. Summer camp offers the opportunity to learn many things. Boys earn merit badges in all kinds of activities: woodcarving, basketry, archery, rifle shooting, sailing, canoeing, horsemanship, swimming, climbing, backpacking. There are over 120 merit badges to choose from.

As for the project, Stefan says anything that is donated, will be used but secretly wishes he will collect enough to also provide books, toys and DVDs to other hospitals in Belgium. He says items in any language is welcome and appreciated.

Stefan will come back to school in a few days after a 1-year absence and is excited about the prospect of being with his friends again. His teachers and friends are grateful to get him back. He has, however, not forgotten about the friends he made while at the hospital and hopes this project will help them make their hospital stay a little more comfortable.

To donate books (in very good condition as the children in the unit are very susceptible to infections and pages cannot be disinfected), games and DVDs for children aged 1-18, please contact or come to St. John’s and place your donation in one of the containers that have been placed around campus for this project. 

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