Elise's Wagon: A special memorial to my niece

Terry Stigdon
Terry Stigdon

Elise Ryne Rochman is my niece who passed on January 28, 2011 at the age of six after living with Tay-Sachs Disease. While she was never a patient at Riley Hospital, I had the chance to share her memory with my fellow team members as well as children and families here.

As a donor to Riley Children’s Foundation, I was presented with the opportunity to dedicate a Riley Red Wagon in her name. Not only did I get to name the wagon, but I also had the privilege of having my sister and brother-in-law travel from Illinois to participate in the release of the wagon into the fleet.

I do not have adequate words to express how meaningful this experience was to my family. The best part for me was seeing the smile on my sister’s face and my nephew jumping up and down with excitement (squealing “Lisee’s wagon!”) when a family checked out Elise’s wagon for the first time. My sister was deeply moved, and could not stop saying how much she appreciated this special memorial.

Each child’s life has profound purpose.

How true.

Red Wagon Fund

Red wagons help families easily and conveniently navigate Riley Hospital, as well as offer children a fun diversion from what can be a stressful time. For a gift of $1,000, a personalized “license plate” acknowledging your gift will be attached to the back of a wagon. Call 317-634-4474 or email mives@rileykids.org for more information.

Terry Stigdon, RN, Riley Hospital Emergency Dept. Manager

Terry is the Emergency Department Manager for Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, the state's only Level I Pediatric Trauma Center. Her team handled more than 34,000 patient visits last year.

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