“It gave me goose bumps”: The Curran Family’s Miracle Ride Story

AMBASSADORS FOR MIRACLE RIDE

On June 1, our family served as an ambassador family for the 21st annual Miracle Ride for Riley. This means that we were selected to tell our story, along with the Kendricks family, in front of 4,200 bikers and their passengers. When I looked out from the stage during the pre-ride program at Allison Transmission, I saw motorcycles lined up with no end in sight!

Since my husband is a biker, we decided to try a group fundraising effort called Team Ethan. We were able to raise almost $6,000 for Riley, with 63 registered riders! My employer, Interactive Intelligence, also generously donated $5,000. Ethan has been adopted as the Finance Department Miracle Baby!

Jason, Stephanie and Ethan Curran with Gov. Mike Pence at the 2014 Miracle Ride

VIP “SELFIES”

Before the ride started, Jason shared Ethan’s NICU journey and promoted Miracle Ride during several news interviews. Once everyone arrived, Tom Griswold of the Bob and Tom Show introduced our families, and he decided to take “selfies” with us. Once Governor Mike Pence arrived, Tom suggested he do the same, so we now have “selfies” with the Governor!

GOOSE BUMPS

Riley Hospital families wave to Miracle Ride participants

When it was time to take off, my older son Logan rode the motorcycle with his dad in the VIP section up front, and I followed behind in a car with Ethan and our parents. It gave me goose bumps when all of those bikes started their engines! We waved at the families in front of Riley Hospital, made a trip around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and ended at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. There were people sitting outside on sidewalks just to watch this HUGE procession of motorcycles go by!

HEARTWARMING GENEROSITY
We have decided to join the Miracle Ride Committee permanently, as we have discovered it’s a great way for our family to give back to Riley for saving our Ethan. It was so heartwarming to be surrounded by people that just want to help the kids. Some were donating more than the required fee at the gate; another person approached me with a $20 donation before the start of the ride.

It’s amazing how generous people are when it comes to the children at Riley Hospital. Miracle Ride raised more than $300,000 for Riley this year. To everyone who participated or donated, thank you. We are looking forward to doing it all again next year!

To see more photos from 2014 Miracle Ride, click here.

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Meet Indiana’s New CMN Champion: “We are very excited and honored.”

Riley Lesh at the ceremony celebrating her selection as Indiana Children's Miracle Network Champion

We are very excited and honored that our daughter Riley has been selected as the 2014 Children’s Miracle Network Champion for Indiana. We have come to know so many families in our 12 years as a Riley family, and it means so much to know that Riley will be representing them in spirit throughout the year.

Dance Marathon Journey

Riley was about 3 years old when we first started searching for a way to give back to the hospital that had given so much to us. We got in touch with Riley Children’s Foundation and asked how we could help.
We attended our first dance marathon in the spring of 2006. I had no idea the impact that it would have on our lives. It was at Bloomington South High School and Riley had just turned 4 years old. I thought, at the time, that I had healed from the experience of her premature birth. However, as I shared her story on stage that first time, I realized that was not the case. Each hug or comment after the speech did so much to bring comfort to me. I watched her play with the high school and college students who had given freely of their time, energy and resources to raise money for kids they had never met.

Riley at IU Dance Marathon

DM Milestones and Memories

And now, here we are eight years and 139 dance marathons later. The Riley dance marathon program in Indiana has grown so much since we first started. We were there when both IU and Purdue broke the million dollar mark, and when Bloomington South topped $100,000. We saw Avon High School make national news this year with their dance marathon lip dub. We have watched new schools come on board with exciting ideas and a passion to help others.

Most importantly, we have watched as dance marathon became a family. The college marathons are like a family reunion when all of the alumni and other Riley families get together.

From Little Girl to Advocate

It has been so much fun to watch my daughter Riley grow right along with the program.  I think we were at Carmel High School in 2011 when she decided it was time to give her own speech. She also started asking if she could go canning with the students at special events to help raise money. She went from a little girl who needed to be entertained to a young lady who wanted to help.

Then last year, she decided that it was time for her to start learning the other side of dance marathon so that by the time she gets to high school, she’ll be ready to start her own. She signed up as a dancer at seven different college marathons (IU, Purdue, UIndy, Butler, Depauw, IUPUI, and Ball State) and by canning, selling loom bracelets and through online fundraising, she raised a little more than $2,000 for the kids. She has yet to decide which college she will call home in 2020, but you can bet that their dance marathon program will play a large part in her choice.

Gratitude Inspires Passion

We owe Riley’s life to her medical team. We know without a doubt that without their care and dedication, our outcome could have been far different. And we also know that without extra donor funding for research, education and hospital services, Riley and kids all across Indiana would not be given the healthcare that they deserve.

That’s why we’re so passionate about dance marathons for Riley Hospital. They are a way for us to join with students from all kinds of interests and backgrounds to raise money, educate others and help sick kids and their families.

We can’t wait for our new CMN Champion to share her story with even more people, and tell them how grateful we are to Riley Hospital for Children.

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Happy Birthday, Tate! A Young Survivor’s Riley Story

A Mother’s Instinct

My son, Tate, during his cancer treatment at Riley Hospital

Today is my son Tate’s 3rd birthday. He is an energetic, always smiling toddler, but he has been through a journey tougher than most people can imagine.

When Tate was 2 months old he was constantly vomiting, not gaining weight, and just not eating well. Our pediatrician kept assuring us it was reflux and everything was fine, but my instincts as a mother were telling me something different.

I am fortunate to be a medical professional and work in a medical imaging facility, so after many different reflux medicines, multiple calls to the pediatrician and still no answers, Tate had an ultrasound of his belly. The ultrasound showed a mass in his liver a little larger than a tennis ball. Tate then had a CT scan so that we could have all the imaging information we needed to head to Riley Hospital.

Beginning a Tough Journey

Riley cancer patients receive special beads to mark milestones in their cancer journey

On August 19, 2011 at noon, many friends greeted us with open arms and ready to help us cope with Tate’ diagnosis. He had liver cancer, stage 3 hepatoblastoma. Riley oncologist Dr. Manjusha Kumar and Ann Haddix, CPNP, were assigned to Tate’s case. Dr. Alan Ladd performed surgery to place Tate’s central line and to do a biopsy of the tumor on August 23, 2011. Tate didn’t tolerate the surgery well, and had his first stay in the ICU before moving to the cancer center.

Tate began chemotherapy a few days later, and in November 2011, Dr. Ladd performed a 6-hour surgery to remove the tumor, which was confined to the left lobe of his liver.  After surgery, Tate had his second stay in ICU, but was able to go home seven days after the operation. He continued chemotherapy treatments six more weeks. These last treatments were the worst for him. He spent most of December and January in the hospital near death because he became septic.

Celebrating Success

Today, Tate is an energetic, cancer-free toddler who is always smiling

Finally on January 29, 2012 Tate spent his first week at home. On February 3, 2012 Tate rang the bell in Riley Outpatient Center cancer clinic finalizing his end of treatment. Today, as we celebrate his third birthday, he remains cancer-free. He loves Mickey Mouse and dancing to music. Tate is special because no matter what he endures, he does it with a smile on his face.

Thank You, Riley Hospital

Riley Hospital means so much to my family. The physicians and staff saved my son’s life. The physicians and staff always kept us informed on Tate’s situation, included us in every decision and made sure we understood everything.

Riley is an amazing hospital. As an Indiana resident, I feel we are very lucky to have such a high quality hospital that provides our children advanced medical care along with kindness and compassion.

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Blessings of Riley: Our thank you letter

The entire Dunscomb family and especially our son Lane would like to extend our most sincere thank you to all who donated to the Riley Children’s Foundation for “Team Lane,” in honor of our 7-year-old son.

Our son, Lane, with Pacers player George Hill

When you are unexpectedly faced with the diagnosis of cancer, you never know how uncertain and unsettling the journey will be. Lane’s journey with Ewing Sarcoma started suddenly, with initiation of chemotherapy that included outpatient and inpatient treatments over five months. Lane then had extensive surgery of his right arm to remove his tumor. He barely had time to recover before he started back on chemotherapy that is expected to continue throughout the summer. His final phase of treatment will include radiation to his spine and possibly his lungs.

Through these many transitions, we have worried about how Lane will cope with all the changes. His life, as an energetic, playful boy, who could do and be anything, would now look so different. Riley Hospital helped us all rediscover a new life, one that is filled with many blessings. Riley creates those blessings.

Lane at Riley Hospital with colts player Matt Overton

Lane is able to spend time playing games with other children, learning new things through the Riley school program, and playing video games in his hospital room. He enjoys the game room in the Cancer Center, where he can beat anyone at a game of air hockey, even his doctor. His favorite times are when he wins at BINGO. Each day, the Child Life Specialist works with Lane to create a special memories through different activities. Storytellers visit to make the nights special. The entire healthcare team supports him through the tough times and celebrates the good ones.

As a parents, we’ve been uncertain about how we would provide Lane’s care, maintain our financial stability and preserve some quality family time that has become ever-so-precious. My husband Jim and I are so grateful that our employers reassure us that family is our number one priority. Jim’s employer, Chemsearch, and my employer, Indiana University Health Methodist Hospital, have provided incredible flexibility in our schedules so we can maintain purposeful work and a sense of normalcy.

The Dunscomb family

Chemsearch sent sales representatives to assure that Jim not only maintains his business, but continues to grow it. They also put together a special fundraiser in honor of Lane, which resulted a donation $11,670 to Riley Hospital’s Child Life program. More than 57 employees from across the nation contributed to this gift, and Chemsearch matched $5,000. This funding they are providing for Child Life allows every child at Riley Hospital to have an experience that is filled with happiness.

Although we walk a road of uncertainty, the one thing that is clear is the lessons we have learned along the way:

  • Count each day as a gift
  • Recognize that the moments we have together are the most precious moments of all
  • Let go and take each day as it comes
  • Remember that no matter how hard things may get, we have tremendous love and support from family and friends

Thank you, IU Health, Chemsearch, and Riley Hospital for helping us stay strong during this journey.

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IRONMAN for Ashley: My Riley DM Story

My sister, Ashley Crouse

My sister Ashley had a tremendous passion for Riley Hospital for Children, which showed through her involvement in Indiana University Dance Marathon benefiting Riley Hospital. I always admired her giving heart and selfless attitude. After Ashley passed away in a car accident in 2005, it was important for my family to carry on her legacy.

I was among a group of students who founded Carmel Dance Marathon benefiting Riley in 2006. It is now the largest high school Children’s Miracle Network Dance Marathon in the nation. After high school, I followed in Ashley’s footsteps and attended Indiana University, where I eventually became president of IU Dance Marathon. I miss my sister every day, yet I find solace in knowing that I am able to carry on her legacy by giving back to the kids at Riley.

I am preparing for the IRONMAN this fall to raise money for Riley through IU Dance Marathon

This fall, I am taking on a new challenge in order to raise funds and awareness for Riley. I’ll be participating in IRONMAN Wisconsin. The race involves a 1.2 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. I have dedicated much of my time training, but I have no desire for people to know what goes into training for an IRONMAN race. I simply want people to know that the race will be a fundraiser for Riley that they can support and follow. This is one way they can reconnect with IUDM and with Ashley. My goal is for people to see Ashley again through my efforts, and think about her legacy.

IUDM: The nation's largest Dance Marathon for Children's Miracle Network hospitals

At the end of my last IUDM, I left each participant with a request. The request was to promise to continue Ashley’s legacy. It’s a promise that I make to myself every day. My family will do whatever it takes to continue her passionate support for IUDM. When you find yourself surrounded by thousands of others who are committed to a great cause such as Riley, you realize that you are a part of a generation that is out to change this world for the better.

Thank you to all of you who continue to fight For the Kids.

Support Casey’s Ironman Fundraising efforts for Riley by clicking here.Follow his IRONMAN journey by clicking here.
To learn more about joining a Team Riley event, click here.

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Unstoppable Athlete: Sam’s Riley Story

Sam Grewe, Middlebury, Ind., has returned to sports with his prosthetic leg following a battle with osteosarcoma

To hear 15-year-old Sam Grewe talk about his first freshman basketball season, training for lacrosse and learning how to drive, it’s hard to believe just a year ago, the standout student athlete was learning how to walk again after losing much of his right leg to bone cancer.

Sam was 13 when a pain in his leg led to an unexpected diagnosis: osteosarcoma. The rare, aggressive form of bone cancer would require months of chemotherapy and a partial amputation. The Grewe family made the drive from their small town of Middlebury in northern Indiana to meet with Dr. Lawrence D. Wurtz, an osteo-oncologist at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
The family originally intended to take the traditional route of having the tumorous part of Sam’s legs replaced with rods. But then they read about rotationplasty, an operation in which the leg below the tumor is rotated and reattached so the ankle functions as a knee joint, allowing the patient to run and jump with a prosthetic.

“Sam said, ‘I want the rotationplasty. I want to continue playing sports,’” mom Michelle recalls. “We asked Dr. Wurtz, ‘Is Sam a candidate for this?’ His face just lit up, and he said, ‘Oh yeah! We can do this!’”
The surgery was successful, and the community rallied in support of Sam.  He was even “adopted” by the Notre Dame football team, which invited him to hang out with players and watch from the sidelines every game of their undefeated 2012 season.

Sam with his sister, Audrey

After finishing chemotherapy in February 2013, Sam made his school basketball team this past winter and put his new leg through its paces. He began  playing lacrosse and going to football workouts to increase his strength—all while maintaining straight A’s in school.

Michelle Grewe shares this message of gratitude for all who support Riley Hospital: “These children, fighting the fight of their life, need the best the world can offer to help them recover and live happy lives. Thank you for your support.”

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“I will do whatever I can to help.” Braedon’s Riley Story

WHY RILEY MEANS EVERYTHING

I work on the Riley Hospital campus as the Administrative Research Coordinator for the Wells Center Program in Diabetes Research. I am also a Riley parent. I have decided to give to Riley through the Heart of Riley Employee Giving Program because I know that Riley is an amazing place that saves the lives of children daily. Riley means everything to me and my family. I truly believe that if it weren’t for Riley, I wouldn’t have my son Braedon today.

BRAEDON’S RILEY STORY

Braedon weighed a little more than 2 pounds when he was born 12 weeks prematurely

Braedon was born at 28 weeks’ gestation (12 weeks premature). He weighed only 2 pounds, 3 ounces, and was 14 inches long. He was the donor twin of a condition call Twin-to-Twin Transfusion Syndrome (TTTS) which can only happen with identical twins. This syndrome is created when the stronger twin begins to take all the nutrients and blood flow from the placenta and then the weaker twin is deprived of these things. His twin, Gavin, perished in utero eight days before Braedon was born. Once we learned about Gavin’s passing, I was admitted into the hospital for monitoring. Eight days later, Braedon’s heart began to slow and then stop. He was delivered via emergency C-section and rushed to Riley Hospital. He needed three blood transfusions in his first 24 hours to save his life.

Today, Braedon is a healthy, happy 11-year-old, thanks to Riley Hospital

During the next 11 weeks, Braedon developed many severe and life-threatening complications, including severe jaundice, dangerously low platelet counts and fungal sepsis – a severe fungal infection in his intestines. During his stay, he had several more blood transfusions, days upon days of platelet infusions, too many antibiotics to count and X-rays every hour for four days. He had surgeries to place central lines into his chest because his veins were beginning to collapse. Braedon also had double hernia surgery and laser eye surgery to save his eyesight, since he had developed Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a condition where the retinas of the eyes begin to detach.

RILEY-STYLE TLC

Braedon loves participating in Riley Dance Marathon fundraisers at schools and colleges throughout Indiana

During this battle for his life, the doctors and nurses at Riley took amazing care, not only of Braedon, but my entire family as well. They were always there to answer questions, listen to us and give us a shoulder to cry on when we needed it. Most importantly, they never let us give up hope.

Today Braedon is a happy, caring and healthy 11-year-old, thanks to the doctors and nurses at Riley Hospital! Our entire family loves giving back to Riley by sharing his story at Riley Dance Marathons across the state.

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, FOR YOUR GIFTS

It makes my heart happy to see my others contribute to Riley. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has already donated. If you haven’t donated yet, I urge you to consider doing so.

I know money is tight for everyone right now. I am a single mom of three children, so I understand A tight budget. However, every single dollar helps. If you are lucky enough to not have dealt with having your own child treated at Riley, you know someone who is a Riley kid. Every sick child deserves the chance to be healthy and happy like my Braedon!

I owe my child’s life to Riley. It’s something I can never repay, but I will do whatever I can to help.

If my giving to Riley means a life is saved, then how can I not give?

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If you work for Riley Hospital, IU Health, IU School of Medicine or the Wells Center for Pediatric Research, you can click here to make your gift via credit card or payroll deduction on our Heart of Riley Employee Giving Program website.

If not, you can make a gift to Riley at any time by visiting our main website, RileyKids.org.

Thank you for your support for children.

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The Call that Changed Our Lives: Will’s Riley Story

This July 5, my 9-year-old son Will and I will be participating in the Patriot Challenge at Lucas Oil Raceway Park in Indianapolis to benefit Riley Hospital for Children. To sum it all up, Riley saved our son’s life! We are happy for this chance to give back.

THE CALL THAT CHANGED OUR LIVES

Our Riley story started in September 2011, when my husband Tom and I went on a retreat in Southern Indiana for a weekend of rediscovery in our marriage. Our then-6-year-old son, Will, and our 15-month-old son, Dominic, were staying with some good friends of ours. That Saturday at around 11 a.m., we received an emergency call that changed our weekend and our lives.

Will was playing outside the railing on a second story loft in our friends’ home, and fell onto the floor of the foyer. They called 911, and the paramedics and fire department decided to transport him to Riley Hospital for Children. It is surreal to hear news about your child. As Tom and I made the two-hour drive up to Indianapolis, I did not understand the severity of the situation.

We soon found out that Will had a skull fracture. He was taken to the intensive care unit, and then went into surgery. He needed a shunt to drain excessive brain fluid and to help with swelling of brain tissue. We learned that the fracture was pretty major, and he had a severe traumatic brain injury.

LONG WAIT AND DIFFICULT MOMENT

Our son Will, recovering from his fall in the Riley pediatric intensive care unit

When we finally made it to the hospital, they had already taken Will into the operating room, so we did not yet have the opportunity to see him. That was a very difficult wait. My parents and my dear friend Nancy (who our boys were staying with) were there before we arrived. We waited and waited…waited and waited…and waited…and waited. Finally, an hour-and-a-half later, we were taken to see our dear little Will. What a difficult moment it was.

It was not easy to see our child laying a hospital bed, appearing so foreign to us, with tubes and wires going every which way. This was not our alive, alert, charismatic child we left the previous day. Tom and I held each other so tight. I rubbed Will’s arm and mentioned encouraging words and asked him to be strong.

Will remained in the ICU for 17 days. They kept him in a medically induced coma for 13 days as the swelling went down. Will spent the rest of the 49 days in Riley’s pediatric rehabilitation unit, where he had to relearn how to breathe, eat, drink, talk, use his hands, walk, and so on.

MIRACULOUS PROGRESS

Will has a lot to be thankful for, including the paramedics and firefighters who helped transport him to Riley

Fast forward to today, in the spring of 2014, and Will has made such miraculous progress! He is finishing up second grade and he is able to communicate just like other kids and go about daily tasks with no assistance. Physically, you cannot tell he ever had an accident. He is doing very well socially.

The challenges that Will continues to face now are due to the permanent damage sustained from his fall, mostly to the front of his brain. It is the part of the brain responsible for emotional management and processing. He is very easily distracted, and can have trouble remembering things or managing his emotions.

While the future still poses learning and behavioral challenges, we are so grateful that we are blessed with Will in our lives. Will has a terrific personality and has such a great heart. He has so much to offer the world and God has big plans for him yet.

SAYING “THANK YOU”

Will today, an active 9-year-old

The decisions our Riley doctors and nurses made early on after Will’s injury are the reason he is with us today. Those decisions saved his life and allowed for his miraculous recovery.

We love Riley! We hope others will join us in the Patriot Challenge and other Team Riley events to continue supporting the hospital that saved our son’s life.

Click here to learn more about joining Team Riley for the Patriot Challenge. The three-mile, family-friendly obstacle course mud run at Lucas Oil Raceway Park on July 5, 2014, honors America’s heroes. Riley receives the net proceeds of the event, and each participant can also donate funds to Riley on the registration page. You can also create your own Team Riley fundraising page to raise additional funds.

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My Riley-inspired purpose: “I’m supposed to do bigger and better things.”

My experience at Riley Hospital for children is one that I will never forget. I still remember walking in for the first time to visit with Dr. Joyce Hubbard. The children were so happy, and the doctors, nurses and aides were so friendly and caring that it was almost contagious.

DR. HUBBARD’S EXPERTISE

When my family and I met with Dr. Hubbard, I was fifteen years old and was diagnosed with the heart condition supraventricular tachycardia (SVT). Dr. Hubbard called my family and me back to a room and we sat down with our list of questions in hand. She explained how a normal heart worked and then explained how my heart worked. I still have one of the pictures Dr. Hubbard drew that described the electrical conduction that goes on in a heart. It may seem simple, but at the time, to a 15-year-old, it painted a clear picture of why my heart at times races at 280 beats per minute.

Dr. Hubbard told us I would need to have a cardiac ablation done to correct my heart. The night before the procedure, I couldn’t sleep one bit. I was tossing and turning, thinking about what could happen, and asking myself, “Will I be okay?” My family and I got to the hospital early in the morning on November 13, 2006 in preparation for a new beginning. I was ready to be able to run again, play baseball with my friends, and even walk down the halls at school without the fear of my heart starting to race.

I remember waking up after the procedure and seeing my parents’ faces. They were smiling but something still wasn’t right. I later found out that my condition was much more advanced than Dr. Hubbard had planned for. She was able to locate the problem but wasn’t able to correct it. She explained the area she wanted to get to was much deeper in the heart and would need more advanced equipment to correct the problem.

BREAKING POINT

I was discharged the following day. Dr. Hubbard wanted to put me on a beta blocker to see if this would decrease or even stop the episodes of tachycardia I was having. At first it seemed to help, but after about a month I started experiencing palpitations more often, and I was having difficulty breathing and experiencing dizzy spells and blackouts. After one episode, I was taken to our local hospital and cared for, but as we were pulling out of the hospital parking lot I experienced another episode. This was the breaking point. The next call the ER doctor made was to Riley Hospital to let them know he was sending me there.

TINA’S HUMOR

When I got to Riley the second time, it was almost a relief. I didn’t have to worry about where or when I was going to have my next episode. One nurse I will never forget from the cardiac unit was Tina. Tina had a sense of humor that made me, my parents, and even her co-workers laugh.

One day, I was feeling extremely depressed because I had been away from home for so long and wasn’t able to go out with my friends to do normal kid things. Tina had apparently found a giant syringe on the unit and decided to fill it with water. She took her water-filled syringe, walked by my room, and before I could turn my head to see who it was, I was shot with a stream of water. I had never laughed so much in my life.

Another time, I ended up riding in a little red wagon with Tina pulling me all through the cardiac unit. I was stopped by the mother of another patient on the floor. She looked at me, put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You made my son so happy when you rode past his room in that wagon.” Little moments like this make us appreciate what we have and who we get to spend our time with.

VENIA’S HEART

One of my friends in the Riley Heart Center, Venia

Another member of the hospital who I will never forget is a cardiac unit aide named Venia. She kept telling me, “When you get out of here, you and I are going to go out for a big, juicy, T-bone steak.” One day when I went back for a follow-up appointment, I saw Venia sitting at the desk, went up to her and asked, “How ‘bout that steak?” She looked up and I was immediately wrapped in her arms as she gave me a big hug.

A RILEY-INSPIRED PURPOSE

My Riley experience inspired me to pursue a career in nursing

As I sit here today reflecting back on my experience, I still can’t believe how much I went through during that short period of time. After my second stay at Riley I had two more cardiac ablations, and I’m doing well today. I decided I want to be like those people who impacted me. I want to have Dr. Hubbard’s expertise, Tina’s personality, and Venia’s heart to make a difference for other children with severe illnesses or disabilities. I am now two semesters away from completing my degree as a nurse.

I truly believe God allowed me to battle through some hard times when I was younger because I’m supposed to do bigger and better things.

I am forever grateful for the people of Riley Hospital. Because of them, I learned how to be more optimistic, I learned to be more humble, and above all, I learned how strong young kids can be.

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Good Sports: A High School Football Player’s Riley Story

Edinburgh H.S. football player Steven Bailey (left) was airlifted to Riley Hospital after an injury during this game last August

Every fall, football stadiums throughout Indiana glow under Friday night lights. Last August 23 in Indianapolis, Steven Bailey was returning a kickoff for his visiting Edinburgh High School Lancers when three Emmerich Manual High School opponents brought him down. The 16-year-old running back started playing football at age 7, so his parents Harvey and Susan Bailey had seen plenty of tackles.

“It was a clean hit,” Harvey says. “Nothing out of the ordinary. He was slow to get up, but he walked off the field.”

But when Steven rolled off the bench in pain, a trainer urged his parents to take him to an emergency room. From Franciscan St. Francis Health–Indianapolis, Steven was airlifted to Riley Hospital with a torn kidney, shattered spleen and lung injury.

Riley is home to Indiana’s only Level I pediatric trauma center. Riley pediatric surgeon Johanna Askegard-Giesmann, M.D., was on call when Steven arrived. “Any time a child comes into the Emergency Room with traumatic injuries, our trauma system is activated,” she says. “This was a higher level of trauma activation, so the entire team was aware of him.”

Steven stayed at Riley for seven days. “We observe these patients with continuous monitoring, especially the first 12 to 24 hours in the ICU,” Dr. Askegard-Giesman says. “Basically the body clots the injury, and they’re stable.” The highlight of Steven’s stay was a visit from Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who gave him an autographed football and a poster that’s now housed in a display case on his dresser.

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck visits Steven and his family at Riley Hospital

Steven was able to rejoin his team for the last game of the year on November 1. He and his family are grateful for the medical team that made that milestone possible. “Riley makes you feel really welcome,” says Susan. “The staff and doctors are awesome!”

This is an excerpt from the article “Good Sports” in the Spring 2014 edition of Riley Messenger magazine. Click here to read more.

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