Behind the Scenes: The Gift of Hope Happens Here Commercial

November 19, 2014
Topics: Donors, Riley Kid Story, Transplant

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Gia and Isabella Cruz, Brownsburg, Ind.

When we were asked to be part of the Riley "The Gift of Hope Happens Here" holiday season campaign commercials, I immediately wanted to say YES!  But I knew I had to discuss it first with our spirited but sometimes shy 5-year-old daughter. After all, she is the one who is the Riley kid, and let me tell you, she knows exactly what she wants.

Click here to watch The Gift of Hope Happens Here commercial.


Isabella has always been very shy and guarded in any new situation, and she had several questions before she made her decision. "So, we have to go to Riley?"  "Why will I be in a hospital room?" "Are they going to take my labs?"  "Am I going to have surgery?"  "Will I get an IV?"  Bella usually looks forward to going to Riley, but after having a kidney transplant and several other procedures, she was understandably nervous. With every question, I reassured her that we would be going to Riley only for fun. We would be helping the hospital that saved her life raise money so they could save the lives of more children like her. Finally she said, "Ok, just for fun?" I said yes. It was then that she said, "Ok, Mommy, I want to do it!" 


On the morning of the shoot, she clung to me while the make-up artist got us ready. The film crew noticed her hesitation and started doing things to truly make it fun (like playing peek-a-boo in the window and bringing her favorite snack).  When we sat down to shoot the commercial Isabella immediately fell in love with the books that were on the bedside table and her little personality came out. We were laughing, comfortable, and truly having fun, which isn't too far off from how we feel any other time at Riley. After the shoot, the crew let her pick out her favorite stuffed animals, a jewelry box and books to keep. (To this day she won't go anywhere overnight without her beloved jewelry box!) 


We were happy for this opportunity to help Isabella see that beauty is all around, even in the midst of sickness and hardship. We are so thankful to those who have donated or are considering a donation to Riley. You are bringing kids like Isabella the most important gifts: 


Isabella's journey did not end with her kidney transplant. This is a condition she will fight her entire life. Your contributions will keep the top doctors, nurses, and other professionals at Riley so children like her can receive the best care possible throughout their journeys.


Donations also mean Isabella and other Riley kids will continue be comfortable and happy while they are in the hospital through programs like Child Life and the Riley School Program. These programs make such a difference, and they could not continue without support from people in the community.


Finally, our hope is that someday through research there will be advancements in care for children with kidney disease, such as an alternative to the immuno-suppressant drugs she will need for entire life.  With your donation, Riley researchers can continue making hopes like these a possibility. 

Riley has truly given us so much HOPE for Isabella’s future. We are glad to be one small part of helping other families find the same gift of hope we did at Riley, especially during the holiday season. 

Click here to make your gift of hope to Riley.

The Gift of Hope Happens here campaign is raising funds to support Riley Hospital for Children

Gia Cruz, Riley Parent

Gia Cruz is the mother of Riley nephrology patient Isabella Cruz. In 2013, Gia donated her kidney to Bella, who underwent a successful transplant surgery at Riley Hospital.

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