"Celebration of Children" honors impact of Simon Family Tower

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Celebration of Children honors impact of Simon Family INDIANAPOLIS, IN (August 29, 2012) - A “Celebration of Children” took place on Wednesday, August 29 at 4:30 p.m., at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. The celebration focused on the impact the new Simon Family Tower will have for children who rely on Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital. Grateful Riley at IU Health patients dating back to the 1920s joined Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Cindy Simon-Skjodt, hospital and foundation leadership, and the Indianapolis Children’s Choir to celebrate the new Simon Family Tower.

Five years ago the Simon Family made a gift of $40 million toward the completion of the new 10-story inpatient tower at Riley at IU Health. In discussing the legacy of her family’s gift, Cindy Simon-Skjodt spoke of their commitment to this community and state: “Riley Hospital is one of the best children’s hospitals in the world. We wanted to ensure that all Indiana children continue to have access to the care Riley provides.”

President and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation Kevin O’Keefe praised the efforts of the Simons’ gift, and discussed the important ongoing role for Indiana’s children: “We have tremendous appreciation for the Simons and all donors for enabling Riley Hospital to continue to revolutionize care and seek cures. These gifts allow us to reach even higher for children.” 

The Simon Family Tower ceremony marks a new chapter for Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital that cares for more than 230,000 patient visits each year.

Jeff Sperring, M.D., President and CEO of Riley at IU Health, explains how the Simon Family Tower responds to continuing needs: “We have anxiously awaited the day we could open our new front door and welcome our patients, families and guests to Riley in the comfort and style they deserve. From day one, this project has been about space - having enough to tend to all of the children who need our expert care and designing it uniquely to meet their needs.”

The Simon Family Tower, a 675,000 square foot, $475 million project, increases efficiency, patient satisfaction, and the hospital’s capacity for medical/surgical and intensive care patients, with a net gain of approximately 100 beds. It includes expanded emergency room services; a larger newborn intensive care unit and cancer center; state-of-the-art operating rooms and heart catheterization laboratories; a new heart center and imaging and radiology units.

Simon Family Tower has opened with a staggered approach:  MRI and pharmacy (September 2010); inpatient floors (January 2011); main lobby (July 2012); cancer center and burn center (October 2012); NICU (January 2013); emergency, heart center, PICU, and surgery (Winter 2013).

Decades of Riley Kids
Dorothy Murphy became paralyzed after contracting the polio virus in 1924, when she was just three months old and living on a small family farm in Wells County. When she reached her teens, she became unable to walk because of complications from polio. She had a series of surgeries on her legs at Riley at IU Health. Thanks to the treatment she received, she was able to lead a vibrant, productive life. Today, Dorothy still lives independently and is an enthusiastic supporter of Riley at IU Health.

Dorothy was honored along with other Riley at IU Health families from each of the last 10 decades at the celebration.

  • 1920s:    Dorothy Murphy, Polio, Wells County
  • 1930s:    Marjorie Roseberry and Marilyn Detraz, Prematurity, Jennings County
  • 1940s:    Gloria Ann Inkenbrandt, Polio, Jasonville (now Speedway)
  • 1950s:    Denise Saba-Higgins, Chronic kidney condition, Whiteland (Grandmother to     Blaine Raider, Leukemia, Greenwood)
  • 1960s:    Greg Wilson, Club feet, Edinburgh (now Columbus)
  • 1970s:    Amanda Wilson, Fanconi’s anemia, Lafayette (now Darlington)
  • 1980s:    Miranda Johnson, Bleeding disorder, Speedway (now Muncie)
  • 1990s:    Heidi Pearcy-Webster, Heart surgery, Michigantown
  • 2000s:    Ramonie Smith, Kidney transplant, Indianapolis (Ramonie was one of the     first patients to stay in the Simon Family Tower)
  • 2010s:    Harli Culy, Prematurity/NICU, Hagerstown

Key Facts:

  • Riley     at IU Health has a new main entrance: 705 Riley Hospital Drive.
  • Both     the inpatient and outpatient entrances to Riley at IU Health are now on     the same street: Riley Hospital Drive.
  • The     new Simon Family Tower Parking Garage, which is attached to the lobby,    offers validated discounted parking for parents and guardians of Riley at     IU Health patients.
  • Riley     at IU Health’s previous main entrance in the Atrium - 702 Barnhill Drive -    will close to the public and become a service and delivery entrance only.
  • Ongoing     construction is scheduled for completion in December 2013.

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 230,000 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. RileyKids.org 

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