From Riley Patient to Ninja Warrior
June 15, 2018
My Riley story began in 1993 when my pediatrician found something suspicious in my head on a CT scan and referred me to Riley Hospital. Once I arrived at Riley I had my first head surgery at the age of three years old. Their great team found a cyst that was attached to my brain. Because of the cyst’s location, they were unable to remove it. When I was five years old, they put in a shunt, a tube that drains the fluid from my head to my stomach.
I began having health problems again during my freshman year in college, starting with a shunt malfunction. Between January and March 2009, I had five additional surgeries for persistent health issues and infections. My last surgery was in August 2009 to reroute my shunt to the opposite side.
I met some of the best staff at Riley. Neurosurgeon Joel Boaz, M.D., performed seven of my nine surgeries. Staff on the Heart floor, especially nurses Angela and Stacy, were very helpful during my long stints at Riley. Every employee and volunteer I encountered at Riley had a great rapport with the patients and families. That is one of the main reasons I feel it is important to give back. Riley Hospital has had such a big impact in my life and I would not be here today if it wasn’t for their care.
Having to overcome these health obstacles has led me to a different personal challenge: competing on the television show “American Ninja Warrior” in Indianapolis. This has been a goal of mine for several years and the fact that one of the qualifiers took place so close to Riley Hospital made it even more special. It was an incredible experience and I look forward to seeing how it all turned out.
The Indianapolis episode of American Ninja Warrior aired June 18, 2018 on NBC.
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