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Young donor awards nursing scholarship to BHS student

Bolingbrook, IL – Ten-year-old fundraiser Mia Farrell presented the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation’s first nursing scholarship to a Bolingbrook High School student today, May 21. Marielle Kopasz, a graduating senior who plans to study nursing at Lewis University in Romeoville, was awarded the $500 scholarship at the school’s annual Honors Day awards ceremony.

Kopasz, 18, remembers first being bit by the nursing bug when her great-grandmother told her about her experiences as a visiting nurse traveling to patients homes in semi-rural western New York. For a class project in middle school, Kopasz interviewed a neighbor who was a neo-natal nurse and was impressed when the woman described the wonder she felt while taking care of every newborn life entrusted to her care.

“It was at this moment that I began to desire this experience for myself,” Kopasz wrote in her scholarship application. “Combining my admiration for these women and my personal fascination of the miracle of the human body and its healthy functioning, as well as a desire to use my traits of compassion and caring on a regular basis, has led me to Lewis University with the goal of getting my degree in nursing.”

Mia, who also lives in Bolingbrook, raised funds for Kopasz’s scholarship by asking her friends and family to donate to the fund instead of giving her presents for her 10th birthday March 11. The idea to donate her birthday money to charity came up when Mia couldn’t think of anything she wanted for her birthday. Parents James and Liza Farrell brought up the idea of reaching out to a charity. Mia loved the idea, so the family began researching local charitable donations; James suggested the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation after meeting the foundation’s executive director, Derek Cazeau, at a community event.

“I’ve always been interested in helping people,” said Mia, a fourth-grader at St. Dominic School in Bolingbrook. “I chose the nursing scholarship because it’s a new hospital, so they need more workers. And I thought the more workers there are, the more people could be cured from sicknesses.” 

Kathy Mitchell, chief nursing officer at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, said she is proud Mia was able to present the scholarship to a deserving student.

“We wanted to honor Mia’s generosity by giving her the opportunity to award the scholarship, allowing her to see firsthand how her donation will benefit another member of the Bolingbrook community,” Mitchell said.

Cazeau expressed his gratitude on behalf of the hospital foundation.

“Perhaps Mia’s actions will spur other young people to reach out to others in their community,” Cazeau said.

Kopasz, who is active in student council, varsity pom-pons, church youth group, Girl Scouts, and the Bolingbrook Park District Dance Force, among other activities, was grateful to receive the scholarship. The funds will help offset her tuition costs.

To donate to the foundation’s nursing scholarship fund, call (630) 312-6000.


Adventist Midwest Health includes Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, Adventist GlenOaks Hospital, Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital.  To find a physician, visit