Extra Life: Playing Games to Honor Our Son

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Lincoln Niece, Greenfield, Ind.

March 1, 2014 was the happiest day of our lives. Our 7 pound, 9 ounce baby boy, Lincoln, was born. Perfect, amazing and overjoyed were just a few of the feelings we felt holding our son after a long nine-month wait. Soon, our joy and amazement came crashing down around us and our family. 

Lincoln had his 24-hour newborn tests the following day and his oxygen levels were peaking in the 50-60% range. (Normal oxygenation stats are 100%.) Our baby boy was born with a broken heart—Tetralogy of Fallot with Pulmonary Atresia to be exact. Five different defects that would soon need to be fixed for our boy to survive. 

At 26 hours old Lincoln was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children. Once settled into the NICU he was placed on lifesaving medicine that kept his heart pumping until he could have his first surgery with Dr. Mark Rodefeld. Since then Lincoln has had three open heart surgeries, countless heart catheterizations and several visits to the cardiovascular clinic. Thanks to Lincoln’s amazing team of doctors, Dr. Robert Darragh and Dr. Mark Rodefeld, he’s a happy and healthy two-and-a-half-year-old toddler who loves Star Wars, Snoopy and helping his dad play anything on the Xbox. 

Being an avid gamer, Ron found the organization Extra Life shortly after Lincoln was born and immediately knew this would be a new yearly tradition for our family. Our team, Lincoln’s Spartans, will play November 5, 2016 for 24 hours straight in order to raise money for Riley. 

We chose to give back to Riley for obvious reasons: without the knowledgeable surgeons, doctors and caring nurses our boy wouldn’t be with us today. Every year we enjoy having our closest friends and family to our house for 24 hours full of laughter and friendly competition to not only honor our son but all the Riley kids. 

Riley truly is a place of hope and healing and we look forward to giving back to Riley for years to come with Extra Life!

To learn more about Extra Life participation or donations, click here.

Ron and Whitney Niece

Ron and Whitney Niece and their son Lincoln live in Greenfield, Ind. They have been a Riley family since Lincoln’s birth in 2014.

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