Founder of Mychal’s Message Launches New Project

HNP Communications Franciscan World

LANCASTER, Pa. — Shannon Hickey, a founder of Mychal’s Message, a non-profit group dedicated to celebrating the ministry of the late Mychal Judge, OFM, is starting a new project to aid the underprivileged and the poor. 

The Lancaster Catholic High School senior, who hopes to attend St. Francis University in Loretto, Pa., in the fall, chooses a project each year to mark the anniversary of a liver transplant that saved her life in 1991. In a precedent-setting operation that gained national media attention, Hickey received a portion of her mother’s liver after being diagnosed with a rare and life-threatening liver disease as an infant.

“Doctors told us she would die before her second birthday,” Hickey’s mother, Kelly Lynch said. At the age of seven months, Hickey became the 17th patient in the United States to receive a portion of a living adult’s liver at the University of Chicago Hospital. “Every day of her life is a gift,” Lynch said, “one that we never take for granted.”

The family celebrates this gift of life each year on Jan. 29, and encouraged the high school senior to give back to others. Last year, Hickey brought 400 inner-city children, along with 100 chaperones, to see Sesame Street Live at the Giant Center in Hershey, Pa. With the help of students at Lancaster Catholic High School, money was raised to purchase all 500 tickets for the show. 

Teen to Take Children to See Show

In this year’s project, named for Hickey’s religion teacher and director of Spiritual Life, Jim Rogers, the teen will bring 300 children from the poorest schools in Lancaster to see a special live children’s performance of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe at the Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre in Lancaster, Pa.  Seventy Lancaster Catholic High School students will chaperone. 

On Feb. 18, Hickey will explain the project’s details to students at Lancaster Catholic High School. Encouraging student participation, the teen will also hold a school-wide raffle to promote the project. Hickey will advertise the project on the organization’s Web site and a special mailing has been prepared for Mychal’s Message supporters, seeking donations. 

Sertoma Club Honors Teen
Her philanthropic efforts earned Hickey the Sertoma Club International’s Service to Mankind Award on Jan. 25. 

Headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., Sertoma is a not-for-profit international organization dedicated to “Service To Mankind,” with 2,000-plus members in more than 650 clubs across Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the United States. Every year, Sertoma clubs raise more than $20 million for local community service projects. 

At the award ceremony, Hickey was joined by her parents and grandparents, Bob and Sharon Hickey, along withCassian Miles, OFM, of Assumption Parish in Wood-Ridge, N.J., a family friend. 

Mychal’s Message is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has collected and distributed more than 135,000 new items to the homeless and the poor.  The organization was founded by Shannon Hickey in 2002 as a way to celebrate her life by remembering the life of longtime family friend, Mychal Judge. Its mission is to encounter the homeless and poor, meeting basic needs while restoring dignity with love.