Big enough to give

  • Julie Muhlstein / Herald Columnist
  • Tuesday, December 23, 2003 9:00pm
  • Local News

Nicky Scheldt wants a Bionicle Lego action figure for Christmas. He’s so excited for Santa to come he jumps up and down at the thought.

Nicky is 5. Like most kids his age this time of year, he can’t wait.

In some ways, Nicky isn’t like most children. I know because I have a 5-year-old boy. Mine isn’t spending these last hours before reindeer fly thinking of ways to help other people.

"I would say Nicky is probably our youngest donor," said Connie Wittren, director of development for Providence Hospice and Home Care of Snohomish County.

Wittren was so touched by the Everett boy’s gift of $20 to the Hospice program she wanted to share his story. "We’ve had teenagers who lost friends make a donation, but never this age."

Hospice care involves professionals, volunteers and family in improving the quality of patients’ final days. Providence Hospice offers counseling and bereavement services to families before and after a death.

Death ought not to be on any 5-year-old’s mind, not in this or any other season. Life doesn’t always cooperate with what should and shouldn’t be.

In October, Nicky lost his 6-month-old half-brother to sudden infant death syndrome. Recently, another family member suffered a miscarriage.

"Nicky would talk about how their spirit left their body and went to heaven," said Peter Scheldt.

Scheldt and his wife Donna, who are in their 50s, adopted Nicky when he was an infant. The boy is their daughter’s biological child.

"It was the best thing for Nicky. He’s a precious child," said Donna Scheldt. "He’s a unique little individual. He loves to give. He thinks of others all the time."

The 5-year-old happened to be with his father — he calls him "Poppy" — the other day when Peter Scheldt needed a blood test at Providence Everett Medical Center’s Pacific campus.

Nicky was intrigued by the holiday trees and wreaths in the lobby. Signs and envelopes there explain the Light Up a Life fund-raiser.

People make donations to the Hospice program in memory of loved ones who have died. Gifts of $20 are for lights, $250 for wreaths, and $500 and $1,000 for trees at the hospital’s Pacific and Colby campuses.

When Nicky’s father read him the details, the boy was adamant. He wanted to donate his own $20 bill.

"I had $29 and I wanted to give some money back, for my auntie," Nicky said Monday when I met him in the hospital lobby. The aunt, his parents’ youngest daughter, had a miscarriage 12 weeks into her pregnancy.

At the hospital with his father, Nicky right away started filling out the donation envelope, using a name he had given the unborn baby his aunt lost. Certain it would have been a boy, he called him "Zakr."

Wittren shared Nicky’s envelope, with the "In Honor of" spot filled in with the unmistakable scrawl of a 5-year-old. "Zakr," it says.

Peter Scheldt, who works for Boeing, said his son insisted on going home and getting the $20 bill.

"I was trying to talk him out of it," said Scheldt, shaking his head.

"Nicky had a $20 bill, $5 and four one-dollar bills. He understands currency. He just decided he wanted to give the money," said Donna Scheldt, who home-schools her son.

On Monday, I asked Nicky a simple question. Why did he donate his $20?

"On Christmas," he said, "you should give away something really special so that someone else can have it."

"I think Nicky is one of our angels," said Wittren, who presented the boy with a Hospice angel pin.

His father agrees. Nicky is a blessing. "It wasn’t something we planned on, but we get a second chance to be parents," Peter Scheldt said.

"We felt that God touched us," his wife added. "God touched us and said Peter and Donna are not through parenting."

What a gift that is.

Columnist Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460 or

muhlsteinjulie@heraldnet.com.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Motorcyclist identified in fatal crash near Lake Stevens

Anthony Palko, 33, died Monday night after colliding with a passenger car. The juveniles in the car were taken to the hospital.

Marysville
Police: Marysville man shot sword-wielding roommate in self-defense

The roommates were arguing over eBay sales, according to police. Then one of them allegedly brandished a two-foot sword.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Everett boy, 12, identified as Davies Beach drowning victim

Malachi Bell was one of three swimmers in distress Sunday in Lake Stevens. He did not survive.

Everett
Port of Everett hosting annual open house after pandemic hiatus

Also, Rustic Cork Wine Bar plans to open a second shop at Fisherman’s Harbor — the latest addition to the port’s “wine walk.”

Arlington Public Works employees use The Big Sidewalk Sucker to lift a concrete panel from the sidewalk. The device saves the city some money and time to level ground below the concrete. (Arlington Public Works)
This thing sucks and helps repair sidewalks in Arlington

Public works crews can remove heavy concrete panels from sidewalks, so the ground underneath can be restored.

New LGI Homes on Thursday, May 12, 2022 in Sultan, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Red-hot housing market cools, a bit, in Snohomish County

The amount of housing inventory is rising. Demand is slowing. Higher mortgage rates are a cause.

John McKeon stands in front of a mobile headquarters vehicle while discussing the funding needs of Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue on Wednesday, June 22, 2022, at the search and rescue headquarters in Snohomish, Washington. McKeon said a priority for the group is to find money for new covered parking for a number of vehicles that do not have a garage to be parked in. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Snohomish County Volunteer Search and Rescue wants rescuing

They’re asking for nearly $1 million in federal recovery dollars, but funding has been hard to come by.

Mike Kersey with Aiya Moore, daughter of Christina Anderson, right, talk about the condition of Nick’s Place in Everett, Washington on June 17, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
‘We’re all good people when we get clean and sober’

Who has fentanyl taken from us? A messenger who saved lives. A “street mom.” A grandpa who loved his grandkids “999 trillion times.”

Snohomish County Superior Courthouse in Everett, Washington on February 8, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Bailiff’s comments leads to appeal of child rape conviction

Joseph Hall, of Snohomish, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison. Now he faces another trial.

Most Read