Meet GG: "A Lady on a Stroll"
Three-year-old G’Liyah “GG” Clark pushes a baby doll in a stroller as quickly as her little legs will take her, all the way down the hallway on the ninth floor of Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health. Right behind her is Riley Child Life Specialist Maggie Kirles, pushing the IV pole that’s constantly attached to GG by long tubes. “A lady on a stroll!” Maggie notes with a smile as they pass the nursing station.
Maggie spends many hours helping GG feel as much like a normal kid as possible, from playing with her doll to painting and making crafts. Riley is GG’s temporary home while she awaits a multivisceral transplant. Once organs become available, Riley Pediatric Transplant Surgeon Richard Mangus, M.D., will perform her surgery, giving GG a new liver, pancreas, stomach, small intestines, and a partial colon. GG and her family came to Riley all the way from Waco, Texas because Riley has one of the nation’s only pediatric multivisceral transplant programs. “She’s a real fighter. She beats the odds,” says her mother Shakayla Clayton. “I know she’ll be strong for the surgery we have ahead of us.”
Shakayla says she appreciates Riley’s child-friendly atmosphere, particularly the family support programs offered here such as Child Life and Music Therapy. Both GG and her 1-year-old brother enjoy playing in the Child Life Zone and in the playroom on the 9th floor. Shakayla looks forward to seeing her daughter be able to have a more normal life after her surgery, when she’ll have “no strings attached” because she’ll no longer need 24-hour nutritional support through a central line. But for now, the family is embracing the joyful moments Riley staff members help them find while they wait for GG’s transplant. “I am so happy that we are here,” says Shakayla. "GG is loved by everybody. She is the life of the party.”
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