Large teddy bears fill Riley Hospital auditorium, and school classrooms of patients

In an effort to keep patients connected to their classrooms while receiving care, Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health operates an ongoing Bear in the Chair program. Once a patient is admitted for two weeks, Riley staff sends a teddy bear to the child’s classroom. The bear sits in the child’s seat until they return to school. When the child returns to school, they can take the bear home.

Through the generosity of its customers, Speedway LLC gifted $1.8 million in 2014 – surpassing $10.7M in lifetime support – towards clinical care and medical research at Riley Hospital for Children. Speedway associates from central and northern Indiana also personally contributed $4,400 for 65 life-size plush animals in 2015 (cumulatively $9,000 for 130 bears the past two years) to support the Bear in the Chair program. Speedway is Riley Children’s Foundation’s number one corporate donor, thanks to a relationship through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

Riley Hospital for Children hosted a dedication of the newest teddy bears on September 3 in the Riley Outpatient Center Auditorium, featuring Speedway executives and employees, Riley Hospital executives and Riley Children’s Foundation leadership.

The Bear in the Chair program originally launched in the Speedway Burn Center at Riley Hospital for Children, and has expanded to include additional hospital units.

Speedway associate Wayne Bartley is grateful for his generous colleagues and the supportive customers who take part in fundraisers for Riley Hospital for Children. His son, Logan, 15, was diagnosed at 6-months-old with Angelman’s syndrome, impacting approximately 1-in-20,000 children. “My son is alive because of Riley Hospital. I am honored to be part of this effort.”

About Riley Children’s Foundation
Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. As Indiana’s only comprehensive hospital dedicated exclusively to the care of children, Riley Hospital has provided compassionate care, support and comfort to children and their families since 1924. Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics throughout the state more than 300,000 times. Riley Hospital’s partnership with Indiana University Health and its strong affiliation with the Indiana University School of Medicine make Riley Hospital the leader in pediatric care in the state and the region. For more information, visit

Browse More News