Young Merced patient hero pays it forward to Packard Children’s

Lucca Lorenzi

Last summer, 16-year-old Lucca Lorenzi was undergoing two sudden, complex surgeries at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. Today, the Summer Scamper Patient Hero is healthy and active, and he’s paying it forward with his “Pack It Up for Packard” art supply drive, which aims to raise awareness for cancer research and support the Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases.

Lucca was recently profiled in his hometown paper, the Merced Sun-Star:

For Lucca Lorenzi, just saying “thank you” wasn’t enough. The soon-to-be Golden Valley High senior wanted to do more for the hospital, doctors, surgeons and nurses that helped save his life last year.

Just one year ago on the Fourth of July, Lucca was in the hospital, unable to celebrate with fireworks, flags or traditional summer fare. In the days leading up to his hospitalization, Lucca thought he had a sinus infection or allergies. When his symptoms worsened, he underwent a CT scan and MRI at his local children’s hospital in the Central Valley and was diagnosed with juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma (JNA), a rare benign but aggressive vascular tumor in the nasal cavity that can spread to the sinuses, eye orbit and brain, making it very challenging to treat.

Rushed by ambulance to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, Lucca quickly underwent two surgeries: The first surgery cut off blood supply to the tumor, and the second eight-hour surgery removed the tumor. His hospital team included pediatric and adult specialists, who took part in the complicated procedures. Thanks to his medical team’s expertise, Lucca was able to return home to Merced just a few days after his surgery.

Today, Lucca is a member of his high school’s swim team, serves as president of the speech and debate club, and is involved with Playhouse Merced. He is also an avid artist and illustrator, which is what led to his support drive for Packard Children’s.

Lucca Lorenzi

Inspired by a moment during his stay at Packard Children’s when his nurses offered him a chance to draw or color, Lucca created his “Pack It Up for Packard” campaign to collect art supplies such as crayons, paint pens, watercolors, clay, coloring books, canvases and Play-Doh for the hospital. In 2017, the Lorenzi family delivered over 850 art supply items to the hospital, filling the playroom of the new Main Building with supplies and tools to help kids heal through art therapy. Lucca’s goal this year is to donate more than 1,000 supplies to the hospital.

This summer, Lucca even created special coloring pages for young patients attending the eighth annual Summer Scamper fund-raiser for Packard Children’s.

“The outstanding care team at Packard Children’s saved my life, and my parents and I were inspired to give back to the hospital,” says Lucca. Speaking with the Merced Sun-Star, he added:

I love art. I take an (advanced placement) art class at school. I felt this was the perfect way to give back — to help restock their art supplies. Kids can confide in art while recovering.

“Lucca has always had a heart for service and wanted to give back to the hospital that had given him so much,” said Lucca’s mother, Suzie Lorenzi.

Lucca Lorenzi

On June 24, Lucca crossed the finish line for the 10K run at Summer Scamper and raised more than $5,000 for the hospital through donations. He was honored as a patient hero by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health and spoke to the crowd before the race began, telling spectators and participants that the kids of Packard Children’s are the real heroes.

Lucca Lorenzi

Lucca told the Merced Sun-Star:

These kids are heroes for what they go through. Heroes go beyond the fictionalized movie and comic book heroes. I grew up loving superheroes. I love comic books. Heroes are real. The doctors, surgeons and nurses who saved my life are heroes.


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