True to His Nature

How one selfless teen is helping critically ill children in Virginia

Luke Post isn’t your typical teenager. Sure, the fifteen-year-old high school freshman enjoys playing video games, collecting sports cards, and spending time with his friends, but there’s another quality that sets him apart from most kids his age.

“Everyone has always said that helping other people is in my nature,” says Luke. “I’m always thinking about how to make other people feel better.”

A concern for those around him, even in the face of his own struggle, is what Luke demonstrated during a visit to UVA Children’s. Last May, Luke was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma, an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This means regular stays at the hospital for treatment that Luke describes as hard on his body and his mind.

“In those early days when I would go for treatment, I would sit there feeling really bad without much to do to keep my mind off things,” says Luke. “And I noticed that there are a lot of activities to help the small children pass the time, but not for teenagers like me.”

So, true to his nature, he thought about helping other people. The result? A fundraiser to help kids receiving care at UVA Children’s. Using the Internet, Luke designed his own t-shirt. The proceeds, he decided, would be used to stock up on activities like popular books, games, and movies—everything a teen needs to keep their mind engaged during treatment.

“When Luke told me about his gift I was blown away, but I can’t say that I was surprised,” says Tina Berg, a child life specialist who works closely with Luke. “The Posts are such a loving and giving family.”

Child Life Program

Child life specialists at UVA Health help children and their families navigate the emotional and mental challenges of illness, disability, and chronic conditions.

Tina wasn’t the only one with a smile on her face. Luke’s father, Michael, couldn’t believe the fundraiser’s success. “We thought we would share the opportunity with our close friends and family and raise a few hundred dollars, but the fundraiser took off, selling more than 200 shirts and raising $6,000,” says Michael.

More importantly, however, Michael points to the character Luke has displayed during a very challenging time. “Honestly, the fundraiser was just one of many times he has impressed us throughout this journey,” says Michael. “At every turn Luke has found the positive; he’s always seen the glass half full. It’s been inspiring for us.”

Michael also credits Tina with providing the support the Posts needed to navigate everything associated with Luke’s illness. “There were some very difficult days throughout this process, and Tina was always there supporting our family. Not only did she get to know Luke and our family members and what we liked, but her timing was perfect,” says Michael. “She was always there at the exact moment that we needed her support.”

In school Luke loves studying the past in history class, but for now he’s looking to the future. Currently he’s focused on both completing his treatment in August 2021 and finalizing the list of new activities for UVA Children’s.

“I still get a little anxious about treatment, but I know it’s almost finished,” says Luke. “And I can think about the other kids using the gifts we’ve given and it makes me feel happy knowing that I’m helping other people.”

To learn more or start a conversation about UVA Children’s, contact Polly Hunter.