An Architect's Riley-inspired Career Path




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Riley kid Aaron Strayer

Riley Hospital is a place of hope, healing, and, often, inspiration.

For Riley patient Aaron Strayer, Riley offered all of the above. Riley doctors saved his life. And a brief-yet-memorable conversation with a doctor helped shape his future career.

Aaron’s experience at Riley Hospital began as a newborn in 1994 when he arrived five weeks before his due date, weighing 5 pounds 2 ounces. He was transported from his birth hospital to Riley when he was 36 hours old. During Aaron’s first five weeks at Riley Hospital, Riley Pediatric Surgeon Fred Rescorla, M.D. and Riley Heart Surgeon John Brown, M.D. corrected anomalies including four defects with his heart. Aaron would go on to be cared for by specialists Bruce Matt, M.D.; Michael Keating, M.D, Mark Cain, M.D.; Joseph Croffie, M.D.; and Michael Tsangaris, M.D., and Alan Ladd, M.D.

In 2003 when Aaron was 9 years old he was admitted to Riley Hospital three separate times because scar tissue from a previous surgery had attached to his intestines, causing an obstruction. Dr. Ladd, who cared for Aaron as a five-pound post-op newborn patient in Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), had become a member of the Pediatric General Surgery team and performed Aaron's surgery to remove the scar tissue.

During one of those hospital stays in 2003 Rich Schreiner, M.D., at that time Riley Hospital's Physician-in-Chief, was talking to Aaron and his mother about an upcoming development of a new phase of Riley Hospital and invited them to his office to look at the building plans. Dr. Schreiner explained what the new phase would include, and Aaron noticed a shaded area in addition to the new phase. He asked Dr. Schreiner what the shaded part was, and Dr. Schreiner replied, “That’s for another phase in the future, after my time here at Riley." And he added with a smile, "That part's for you to do.”

They continued their visit, and Aaron asked Dr. Schreiner for a pencil. “Sure,” he replied, inquiring, “What do you need a pencil for?”  Taking his assignment literally Aaron responded, “You said that next part's for me to do, and I need to get started.” 

Fast forward 13 years: Aaron is a healthy 22-year-old and is an architecture student at the College of Architecture and Planning at Ball State University. His dream is to design hospitals.

As this family continues to show gratitude to Riley, may we all celebrate the countless children who are healed—and inspired—by the talented, caring staff at Riley Hospital.


Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.


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