All We Want for Christmas

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Ben and Blake Edwards

My son, Ben, is now seven years old and he is missing his two front teeth this holiday season. What he’s not missing is time with his family, friends, or any of his physical or cognitive abilities. This is remarkable because over the course of the last six years, Ben has undergone seven surgeries and over thirty proton therapy treatments. 

As a toddler, Ben suffered from an aggressive brain tumor which was successfully removed through all-day brain surgery at Riley Hospital for Children. Proton therapy destroyed the remaining cancer cells and Ben has now been cancer free for nearly six years. Ben does not miss cancer. 

Despite this successful treatment, Ben requires a shunt in his brain to drain his cerebral and spinal fluid. Shunts do two things; they keep people alive and they malfunction. Malfunctions cause pain, headaches, and vomiting as fluid builds up on the brain. We’ve brought Ben to Riley’s emergency room twice in the last two years with shunt problems and twice Riley’s neurosurgeons have fixed the problem. With all of this you might ask, how is this kid missing just his two front teeth? He’s missing only his two front teeth because the staff at Riley Hospital hasn’t missed a thing when it comes to caring for him.

Riley Hospital can only provide such a high level of care for kids if it is sustained with donations from the community. It’s a good time of the year to reflect upon what we are missing and what we are not. Indiana is not missing a great children’s hospital, trust me. 

This is also the time of year, if we are honest, where we think about all that we want. All my wife and I want for Christmas are our children together; all that our oldest son wants (seriously) is to collect donations for Riley; and, well, we all know what Ben wants.

Click here to make a gift through The Gift of Hope Happens Here campaign. French Lick Resort is matching gifts up to $150,000 through December 31.

Chris Edwards, Ed. D.

Chris Edwards, Ed.D, teaches AP World History teacher at Fishers High School, and is the author of several books including 'Teaching Genius: Redefining Education with Lessons from Science and Philosophy.' Chris donates the royalties from 'Teaching Genius' to Riley Children's Foundation in support of pediatric cancer research at Riley Hospital. Chris and his wife Beth live in New Palestine are the parents of two boys, Blake, and Ben, who is doing well after being treated at Riley for a cancerous brain tumor.

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