Palmetto Bay resident Leia Schwartz, 17, is an outstanding student and athlete who is known for her health-related community service projects and her remarkable singing talent.
Schwartz, who has a history of asthma, has made a few serious hospital visits, giving her an appreciation for the staff of Baptist Hospital and patients like her.
On Christmas Day, she and her father, David Schwartz, maintained a tradition by visiting the hospital and giving out gifts to some of those who work there and some who are hospitalized there for treatments.
“I have been doing this ever since I had to spend my sixth birthday in the hospital after my collapsed lung,” Schwartz said. “I do this every holiday to give thanks to the doctors and nurses that helped save my life, and bring presents to the patients because I know what it is like to be in the hospital on a special day.”
One of the hospital staff she visited is Kevin Schuck, RN. He is a second-generation healthcare provider, according to Schwartz.
“His mom, Kathy, is also a nurse who has taken care of me in ICU since my collapsed lung,” she said.
Schwartz took singing lessons to strengthen her lungs at the suggestion of her pediatric pulmonologist, Dr. Maria E. Franco, and discovered she has a talent for it. She also is an avid golfer, so she could well seek a career in medicine, entertainment or sports.
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