Meet a 91-Year-Old Riley Kid
January 9, 2019
Topics: Riley Kid Story
Once a Riley kid, always a Riley kid.
Genevieve Sater from Sullivan, Ind. is 91 years old and received treatment at Riley Hospital starting in 1932. Learn more about her experience at Riley nearly 90 years ago in this special Q&A.
Q: Tell us about your treatment at Riley Hospital.
A: I had a bad clubfoot and they started at about age five until I was 16. I had a lot of casts and a lot of braces. I had about four different surgeries as I would grow, mostly during the summer time so I wouldn’t have to miss school. My last surgery was in March of 1945, the year I was to graduate. I got to graduate with my class, and I went to summer school to complete everything.
Q: How did the care you received at Riley change your life?
A: My mom told me my toes turned around and touched my heel. To think they got it straightened out so I could walk is wonderful. Without Riley’s help, I probably could never have worn a shoe on that foot. I had a pretty normal life. I feel fortunate. My right foot is smaller than the left, so I have to buy two pairs of shoes, but it’s just wonderful the way they got it straight.
I worked at IU after I graduated from high school, and in 1946 I got married. My husband (Thomas Sater, who passed away six years ago) was in the Navy, and we ended up with four boys. I’m proud of all of them.
Q: What are your feelings today about Riley Hospital?
A: Oh my. I can’t thank them enough, because it was during the Depression that I was being treated. We lived seven miles north of Bloomington at the time, they even furnished a lady to take me to my appointments and bring me back home. It was just a blessing that I received. At the time, I was a kid, but now I realize how fortunate I was to have gotten this taken care of. It’s just wonderful to have something like that here in Indiana without having to travel long distances to get care. I’m just thankful.
One time I cried because my parents had to leave me at Riley, and I remember my dad said to my mom, “Oh, Maggie, let’s just take her back home,” but my mom said no, that they needed to leave me at Riley so I could be taken care of. I think about how fortunate I was that my parents didn’t give in.
Q: Why is it important for people to support Riley by donating?
A: It’s important to help an institution like that because they do so much good for so many. I think about how lucky I was to be taken care of like I was. Riley has donation buckets at different places, and I try to put in something every chance I get because I feel like I’m indebted to them.
Learn more at BeTheHopeNow.org.
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