Holiday Gratitude, Riley Style

As November begins, many people begin to really think about the things for which they are most thankful. For our family and many others like ours, it is the start of National Prematurity Awareness Month, so it seems only fitting that our month of November is full of Riley events and activities.

On November 4, we will be making the drive to Indiana University for the kickoff of IU Dance Marathon. This will be our sixth IUDM as a Riley family. This year, their theme is “Traditions” and we absolutely can’t wait.  Our favorite events are the Riley Kid talent show, learning the morale dance and of course, the big reveal of how much money the students were able to raise this year. Last year, they raised $1,602,713.20 and my heart always pounds as they raise the numbers for this year.

The following weekend, we will be attending the Butler Dance Marathon Gala.  We are very excited to get to dress up and share our story with everyone who is attending.

On November 18, we are delighted to be attending the Riley Children’s Foundation Annual Luncheon. Our daughter, Riley, was asked to be one of the calendar artists this year and she can’t wait to see her artwork in print.

We will finish up our month of activities that weekend as we make our way to West Lafayette for Purdue’s Dance Marathon. This is their 8th dance marathon and they have announced a goal of $250,000 for the kids at Riley. We are so excited to cheer them on. They get so much support from the university and their athletic teams who make a point of stopping by and seeing all the Riley kids.

It’s been almost 10 years since my daughter was born 15 weeks premature. I never thought then that the family I would be most looking forward to seeing over the holidays would be our Riley Dance Marathon family.


About Julie Lesh

Julie is the mother of 12-year-old Riley Lesh, a former Riley NICU patient and 2014 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana. The family has participated in more than 130 Riley Dance Marathons.
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