Girl Scout Earns “Gold” Community Service Award By Helping Breast Surgery Patients

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March 21, 2013

Katrina Lissitschenko (center) presents pillows at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo

Girl Scout Katrina Lissitschenko, center, presented Mercy Hospital with 150 heart-shaped pillows for breast surgery patients as part of her Girl Scout Gold Award project. Participating in the presentation were from left, Girl Scout volunteers Lois Will and Barb Brill; Aimee Gomlak, VP of Catholic Health Women’s Services; Dr Ronald Bauer; and Mercy President & CEO C.J. Urlaub

Last October, 16-year-old Katrina Lissitschenko of Hamburg, NY was trying to come up with an idea for a community service project that would earn her the Girl Scout “Gold Award,” the highest award in Girl Scouting. At the same time, she had been touched by an aunt and her best friend’s mother who had recently undergone breast surgery.

Katrina told her mother and Girl Scout troop leader, Rebecca Lissitschenko, a nurse practitioner at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, that she wanted to do something to help people like her aunt and best friend’s mother. Rebecca also happened to work with Dr. Ronald Bauer, a Catholic Health breast surgeon, and spoke to him about it. As a result, Katrina learned about special pillows that can make patients more comfortable after their surgery—thus her Gold Award project was born.

After securing donations of materials and supplies, Katrina organized a team of volunteers to make the pillows. Some groups that helped her included the St. Francis Religious Education Department, other Girl Scout troops, her soccer team and volunteers from the 4H Club. Her project produced 150 heart-shaped pillows that are used for an arm support and comfort for post-operative breast surgery patients.

Katrina successfully led the project to fruition and recently presented 150 heart-shaped pillows to Mercy Hospital.

Accepting the donation were Dr. Ronald Bauer, Catholic Health breast surgeon; C.J. Urlaub, president and CEO of Mercy Hospital, and Aimee Gomlak, vice president, Catholic Health Women’s Service Line. Also joining in the presentation were Girl Scouts of Western New York volunteers, Lois Will and Barb Brill.

“I just wanted these patients to know that somebody cared about them,” said Katrina. “These pillows can be placed under their arm after surgery to give them support and comfort.”