Alumnus raising money to improve the treatment and recovery of children who need MRIs

October 18, 2021

SPIDER PRIDE

When Doug Veliky, a 2004 grad, and his wife learned that their unborn baby would need surgery soon after birth, they were shocked.

“My wife Alma and I learned that he had an abnormality on the lower left lobe of his lungs that would need to be removed at an early age,” Veliky said.

As an infant, Edin underwent multiple medical imaging tests, including a magnetic resonance imaging scan, or MRI. The scan requires a patient to stay still for up to a few hours at a time inside a large, loud machine.

“It’s a frightening experience for anyone, let alone a small child, and often requires sedation in order to remain still,” Veliky said.

Edin had a successful surgery when he was 7 months old at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Veliky knew then that he wanted to help other children to feel less intimidated by the machine.

“The care that Edin received and his continued good health ever since the surgery motivated us to partner with the hospital and help families experiencing these anxiety-filled procedures and make those moments just a little bit more welcoming,” Veliky said.

He used his social media presence as the chief strategy officer at Revolution Brewing, an independently owned Chicago brewery, to raise $40,000 to redesign the MRI suites at Lurie Children’s for other children in need.

Veliky partnered with hospital decorators to add child-friendly designs to the spaces, including themes like under the sea and forest creatures. He said his time at the University of Richmond taught him the importance of leadership, especially when it comes to helping others.

“I was surrounded by inspirational faculty and a highly motivated class of peers who each wanted to put their own mark on the world,” he said. “When you're surrounded by that much drive and enthusiasm, it's contagious, and sent me down a path where I don't shy away from a challenge and never take anything for granted.”

Since beginning the campaign in 2019, he has raised $120,000 to add designs to other spaces in the hospital, including the emergency CT scan room, nuclear medicine room, and x-ray rooms. Though currently focusing on Lurie Children’s, Veliky wants to expand and help other children feel safe and comforted.

“My wife and I are currently working with the hospital to identify the next set of rooms to fundraise for and convert,” he said. “We're anxious to get started and have no intentions of ever stopping.”