What if you could save a child's life?

Be the Hope NOW: The Campaign for Kids

Be the Hope NOW: The Campaign for Kids

GOAL: Raise $175,000,000 by 2020

to transform Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health through three high-priority programs:

An optimisitc child patient

“Riley research is helping me fight my brain tumor. I want to help other kids to get better too.”
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— Christian Daugherty, Albany, Ind.

What we do

Research and Patient Care

Photo of Christian Daugherty

Christian Daugherty

It was a terrifying evening in the Daugherty home in October 2017. Their 6-year-old son Christian began screaming in pain, then went limp. He was rushed by ambulance to a local emergency room in Muncie, Ind., then quickly sent to the Riley Hospital for Children Emergency Department, where doctors discovered the source of his problems: a brain tumor. Christian underwent a total of three brain surgeries with Riley Pediatric Neurosurgeons Andrew Jea, M.D., and Jeffrey Raskin, M.D. One of the surgeries involved serious brain swelling complications, but Christian fought hard and recovered.

The donor-funded Riley Precision Genomics team ran tests on Christian’s extremely rare tumor, and discovered a genetic fusion was creating a protein overproduction that was feeding the tumor. These genetic findings allowed the Riley team to identify a targeted chemo pill, Trametinib, with virtually no side effects. The treatment worked well to contain Christian’s tumor for many months. When the tumor began growing again over the summer of 2018, Riley Pediatric Neuro-Oncologist Alex Lion, M.D., worked with the family and the Precision Genomics team to adjust Christian’s treatment plan, which included another brain surgery and proton therapy.

Through each step, the Daugherty family has shown deep gratitude for the many Riley caregivers who are providing Christian with exceptional, research-based cancer care, and the donors whose gifts support Riley. “I can’t say enough about how much those gifts help,” says Christian’s father, Brad Daugherty. “It’s been an amazing experience with Riley. It’s a beautiful hospital. I wouldn’t have gone anywhere else. We have our child back now. Christian has a heart of gold and wants to help Riley.”

A woman, smiling and looking at her baby

“Riley Hospital saved both of our lives. I felt like I had the best people on my side in a moment where I needed the best people on my side.”
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— Sheila Dolan, Fishers, Ind.

What we do

Maternity and Newborn Health

Photo of Jameson Dolan

Jameson Dolan

“On the day of delivery, our big question was, will Jameson breathe?” recalls Sheila Dolan about her youngest child’s birth day.

Doctors first referred Sheila and her husband James to the Fetal Center at Riley Children’s Health after a routine ultrasound revealed abnormalities. The donor-funded Fetal Center provides comprehensive care to expectant mothers whose babies have known birth defects. Riley Pediatric Radiologist Brandon Brown, M.D., discovered not only that baby Jameson had organs growing outside of his abdomen and compromised lungs, but also that Sheila was at risk for a dangerous problem with her placenta.

The Fetal Center pulled together the entire group of specialists to form a plan for Jameson’s birth and follow-up surgeries. He was born via C-Section on December 29, 2017. “Praise the Lord, he breathed,” says Sheila, recalling Jameson’s first tenuous moments.

Although her son was doing better than expected, Sheila’s own life was still at risk. Fortunately, because Dr. Brown had detected her placenta problem in advance, the team had taken extra steps to prepare for an emergency hysterectomy. “He was right. They did have to remove my uterus,” says Sheila. “At the end of the day, I feel like he saved my life. I felt like I had the best people on my side in a moment where I needed the best people on my side.”

Today, Jameson is home, delighting his parents and sisters with his smiles. The Dolans hope that as donations to Riley Maternity and Newborn Health increase, more families will benefit from the kind of exceptional care they received. As Sheila says, “I feel like Jameson is here today and has a really good shot at a wonderful, fulfilling life because of the wonderful group of people who cared for him.”

A healthcare professional interacting with a young girl

“Riley healed our daughters' spirits as well as their bodies. The care here is provided with LOVE. How can we say 'thank you' for that?”
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— Heather Strayer, Whiteland, Ind.

What we do

Family Support Programs

Photo of Kennedy and Bailey Strayer

Kennedy and Bailey Strayer

When Heather and Josh Strayer were expecting their second daughter, Kennedy, they discovered she had a significant single ventricle heart defect. The family was living in Arizona, but they decided to return to their family roots in Indianapolis so their daughter could be treated by the exceptional team at the Riley Heart Center.

Riley Pediatric Heart Surgeon John Brown, M.D., performed the first in a series of heart surgeries one week after Kennedy was born. The donor-supported Child Life team at Riley was right there to alleviate fears and provide comfort. “It’s hard to have conversations with doctors and nurses and keep a 4-year-old sibling entertained in a surgery waiting room, so Child Life was really important,” says Heather. “In the Newborn Intensive Care Unit they were so good at helping Kennedy’s older sister Bailey understand why her new baby sister had wires on her, and why couldn’t we pick her up.”

Riley’s social work team also provided valuable support when the family prepared leave the hospital with Kennedy for the first time. “They told me, ‘We’re not going to let you out of here without knowing what she needs, we’re going to teach you everything she needs.’”

Dr. Brown performed Kennedy’s second surgery when she was a toddler. Child Life Specialist Lindsay Morgan patiently prepared Kennedy for surgery, helping her understand what was happening and keeping both sisters calm and entertained. “Child Life is really good at helping her to not be scared,” says Heather.

The Strayers ultimately became a Riley family times two: Bailey underwent treatment for a non-cancerous bone cyst. With both girls doing well today, the Strayers are encouraging every Indiana family to join them in supporting Be the Hope Now: The Campaign for Kids.

#BeTheHopeNOW

and help us by spreading the word and sharing your Riley story.


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