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New Hanover teen earns Eagle Scout rank while battling kidney disease, getting chemotherapy

NEW HANOVER — Don’t ever let anyone tell you that an elaborate Christmas light show can’t work miracles.

Adam Canigiani Jr., a 17-year-old Boyertown High School senior, who has endured two kidney transplants and chemotherapy to fight lymphoma, recently earned the Eagle Scout rank as well as receiving the New Hanover Township Distinguished Citizen award, all with the help of his family’s famous light show, which has been going on since 2007.

Their display often brings more than 5,000 cars to enjoy their creativity, which prompted Adam and his neighbor to start a food drive. In conjunction with the popularity of the light show, they were able to donate more than 7,500 pounds of food to the Boyertown Area Multi-Service.

Boy Scout in uniform receiving proclamation from female state representative.
Adam Canigiani Jr., left, who recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout, receives a Pennsylvania House of Representatives citation from state Rep. Donna Scheuren, R-147th Dist. (Courtesy of state Rep. Scheuren)

In 2022, his Eagle Scout project engaged those same light show visitors to help The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Visitors were given a business card with a QR code, that steered them to an Amazon wish list created by the Child Life Services Department at CHOP. The success of this campaign allowed Adam to make a delivery in May 2023, of 1,000 toys valued at over $6,000 to The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, according to information provided in the weekly newsletter issued by state Rep. Donna Scheuren, R-147th District.

Canigiani’s efforts led to the award of his Eagle Scout in November 2023 and the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony was held on April 20. Eagle Scout is the highest advancement one can achieve and since 1912, more than 2 million Boy Scouts have earned this rank.

“The ceremony is rich with traditions and allowed many of Adam’s current and former Scout leaders to speak on his behalf, sharing stories of his adventures and his civility on the road to Eagle Scout,” Scheuren, who attended the ceremony, wrote in the newsletter. “We were welcomed by Troop 105 Scoutmaster Tony Verguldi, as well as Troop 105 Senior Patrol Leader Christopher Hartley, a formal color guard presentation and the invocation and final blessings from Father Brandt of St. Theresa of Calcutta Parish.”

8 people standing in front a meeting table with a township seal on the wall in the background
The New Hanover Township Board of Supervisors presented Eagle Scout Adam Canigiani Jr. in February 2024 with the distinguished citizen award. (Courtesy of state Rep. Donna Scheuren)

Canigiani has earned the following Boy Scout merit badges since 2012:  Leatherwork, Chess, Space Exploration, Coin Collecting, Swimming, Rifle Shooting, First Aid, Engineering, Citizenship in the Community, Art, Geocaching, Emergency Preparedness, Archery, Camping, Environmental Science, Cooking, Citizenship in the Nation, Family Life, Communications, Signs, Signals and Codes, Citizenship in the World, Music, Medicine, Pets, Personal Fitness, Personal Management and Citizenship in Society.

In addition to speeches given on Canigiani’s behalf, he recognized the role models in his life gave glory to God, “his parents and his genuine thanks to all those in his life that helped to steer him towards his achievements, his goals, his personal growth and his profound stewardship. In response, we were also touched by an emotional moment of gratitude as well, given by Adam’s parents — Jessica & Adam Sr.,” according to Scheuren’s newsletter.

“Born on May 20, 2006, with BOR Syndrome (Branchio-oto-renal), he began life in the NICU at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The syndrome led to his first kidney transplant from his father in 2010, but immediate rejection caused doctors to perform many interventions that allowed him to utilize the kidney for 12 years. Fortunately, Adam received a second kidney in July 2022 from an anonymous donor but was diagnosed with Post Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorder (PTLD), a short time after,” Scheuren wrote in February.

The disease is a form of diffuse large cell B lymphoma, which is associated with organ transplants and Canigiani underwent four rounds of chemotherapy in the spring of 2023. He is now in remission from the cancer.

“He never lost sight of all the health issues he overcame in his life, with the help of many doctors, thus he remembers what it was like to be at CHOP for most of his childhood. He was determined to make the lives of the kids at CHOP a little brighter and a little more special and through all of his actions – he did,” Scheuren wrote.  “We are all encouraged by Adam’s actions and his continuous desire to give back to his community, his church, his school, his scout troop, his parents and to all those who helped him along the way.  Adam has a positive effect on everyone he meets and he makes us all want to be better people.

“I was proud to present him with a House citation that commended his achievements. I also joined a long list of people proud of Adam for earning the distinguished citizen award from his community,” she wrote. “It was truly my honor to celebrate with Adam last week. At 17, he’s faced more adversity and fulfilled more community service than most of us will in a lifetime.”

Canigiani intends to attend Penn State Berks this fall.

Source: Berkshire mont

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