A boy rushed to the hospital with a ruptured appendix earlier this month found a way to turn his passion for geography into a way to help other sick kids.
Byron Siragusa, 6, can recall maps and countries from memory, and Lurie Children’s Hospital staff say they’ve never met a kid quite like him—especially since he created an educational card game there after his stay ended up lasting weeks.
Ellen Donovan, of the hospital’s Family Life Center, noticed Byron light up when he saw the de-facto medal count during the Olympic Games in Rio.
“I knew he really loved and knew flags when I said to him ‘I’m looking for Belarus,’ and within three seconds, he says ‘bottom right.’” Donovan recalled.
Byron was named the flag marker of the 2016 Olympics in the Family Life Center playroom and would change the flags daily depending on what countries won gold medals.
His zeal for geography and national flags prompted Donovan to challenged Byron to create his own game.
He accepted and created “Learn and Get Well,” in which players match cards of countries and flags to their continents—and the game is designed for children who are staying at Lurie.
“So then then they can learn while they’re in the hospital,” Byron said.
Byron was supposed to start the first grade at the British School of Lincoln Park on Monday but his family is now hoping he’ll be able to come home in a few days.