Behind the scenes: Riley's New Commercial

Commercial Group Shot 2019 Full Size Image

We believe Riley kids’ spirit of generosity is contagious, so we decided to put a spotlight on it.

When our Communications team at Riley Children’s Foundation set out to create a new television commercial encouraging the public to give to Riley, we knew we needed to stay true to our “North Star” – the kids themselves. This year’s ad, told from the perspective of the Riley wagon, centers on the kids and their spirit of giving:

“Kids love helping Riley. But they can’t do it alone. Please help my wheels of hope keep turning.”


The logistics for the commercial shoot were tricky. We brought four Riley kids (and their families) to five locations across the Indianapolis metro area―all in a single day.

The kids rose to the occasion as we knew they would. Kyle, Delenn, Jace and Caleb were rock stars!

Caleb, a heart transplant recipient, had not been feeling well, but was determined to show up for the shoot and do his best. As our video crew (from Innovative Edit) lit up the early morning scene outside Riley Hospital with a portable light and generator, Caleb patiently carried his Riley bucket through take after take.

Kyle, an energetic 5-year-old former preemie who weighed barely over a pound at birth, turned his Riley collection bucket into a drum. He loved it so much we sent one home with him as a souvenir!

Jace, a high school athlete who underwent a bone marrow transplant to treat aplastic anemia gently reminded Kyle over and over to keep his hands inside the wagon and look up. Jace pulled Kyle across the street in front of Monument Circle carefully as our crew stood guard just outside the shot, keeping them safe.

Delenn, a charismatic 7-year-old born with spina bifida, became attached at the hip with Kyle even though they had just met that day. Kyle rested his hand on Delenn’s walker as they walked along sidewalks in Carmel. The two buddies melted our hearts by singing the alphabet song together in side-by-side wagons as we pulled them down the Monon Trail.

After capturing the final shots on a Carmel roundabout, our Riley team and video crew stood in amazement at how well the kids handled such a long, challenging day. Our team couldn’t thank the families enough, yet they kept thanking us for the opportunity to help Riley.

We hope these kids feel great pride when they see the ads on television.

As we enter the holiday season of giving, may many hearts be inspired by the generosity of our Riley kids.

You can make a gift to Riley any time at or All individual gifts before midnight December 31, 2019, will be doubled by French Lick Resort. Donate here

Trisha Lawless, Manager, Communications, Riley Children's Foundation

Trisha joined the Riley Children’s Foundation Communications team in 2011 after working for 15 years as a television news journalist. Her professional role includes overseeing content for Riley social media, videos and publications such as Riley Messenger magazine. Trisha and her husband Ben Lawless live in Indianapolis and have six children in their newly blended family.

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