READERS of the page opposite may recall the story of Lucas...


March 26, 1994

READERS of the page opposite may recall the story of Lucas Livingston, a 6-year-old boy with leukemia. His father, Gordon S. Livingston, wrote movingly about donating bone marrow to try to save his son, and about the boy's death a little over two years ago.

"We can redeem these tragedies from senselessness by imposing meaning on them," wrote Harold Kushner, in "Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People."

"The question we should be asking is not, 'Why did this happen to me? . . . A better question would be, 'Now that this has happened to me, what am I going to do about it?' "

Lucas' family is creating a memorial fund in his name at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. The fund will provide a place to stay for families whose children are undergoing prolonged hospitalization.

Since Johns Hopkins is a well known center for bone-marrow transplants, families travel here from all parts of the country, sometimes from overseas. In-patient care often lasts two or three months, and daily outpatient follow-up can last still longer. Insurance may cover the medical costs, but not the lodging needs of families.

The Lucas Scott Livingston Memorial Suite was dedicated last week at the Tremont Plaza Hotel, whose owners had earlier created a similar suite in memory of a child in their family who died after a bone-marrow transplant. The suite is personalized with some of Lucas' toys.

So far, $120,000 has been raised or pledged through individual, foundation and corporate contributions. That will pay keep the suite open for eight months a year.

Contributions may be sent to: Lucas Scott Livingston Memorial Fund, Johns Hopkins Children's Center, 1620 McElderry St., Reed Hall 204, Baltimore, Md. 21205.

* * *

THE Baltimore Symphony Orchestra ought to steal a note -- pun intended -- from the Cleveland Orchestra.

At the end of each Cleveland symphony broadcast on National Public Radio, the commentator puts in a high-octave plug for his town.

He extols the $3 billion that has been invested in recent years to fund the Cleveland Renaissance, a civic drive that has put new life into the cultural center of a lakeside city that only a few years ago was as deep in the basement as its hometown Cleveland Indians.

With a nationwide audience now available for the BSO through its public radio broadcasts, all America should be reminded of the wonders of this All-American metropolis on the Chesapeake.

Camden Yards, the National Aquarium, the Walters, the Baltimore Museum of Art's Matisses from the Cone collection, Johns Hopkins (the hospital and the university), the Inner Harbor, Fort McHenry -- all these attractions are as meritorious as anything Cleveland has to offer.

So along with its repertoire of classical music, let the BSO sing Baltimore's song.

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