From "Riley Kid" to Riley Mom

bryden alcon family
Bryden Alcorn with his mother, Mackenze, and grandmother Melanie Alcorn

Mackenze Alcorn from North Vernon, Ind., became a “Riley Kid” when she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 13 months old. 

But today, the tables are turned. Mackenze is adjusting to life as a “Riley mom.” 

Her son Bryden has been in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) ever since he was born prematurely on December 14. 

“He loves to be cuddled,” Mackenze says. “He is very playful when he’s awake. He has little chubby cheeks.”

Riley Hospital’s team of specialists, including neonatologists and pulmonologists, have been working together to address Bryden’s needs, from breathing to digestion. 

“They’re very helpful,” says Mackenze of the medical staff at Riley Hospital. “They involve the parents in the care, which I’m very grateful for. They’ve helped my family a lot – my health and his.”

Thanks to the private Riley NICU rooms in the donor-supported Simon Family Tower, Mackenze can sleep on a pull-out couch right in Bryden’s room. She says worrying about his health has been scary, but the NICU team has helped ease her fears. “One of my nurse practitioners came in one night when I was upset about stuff,” Mackenze recalls. “She sat on the couch for at least 30 minutes and just talked, and explained everything. It meant a lot. It showed that she cared.” 

Mackenze’s mother, Melanie Alcorn, has been equally impressed by Riley. “They did wonders for Mackenze during her 15 years with Riley,” says Melanie. “The doctor she had, Dr. (Juan) Sanchez was awesome.” And now, as a Riley grandmother, she loves seeing how the staff is helping her daughter be a hands-on mom, including teaching her how to insert Bryden’s feeding tube.  “I still get to be a mommy, even though he’s here,” says Mackenze.

As she looks forward to a future at home with her son, Mackenze takes comfort knowing people all across the community support Riley, helping make her family’s experience as comfortable as possible. “It’s nice to know there are people out there who care and can help.”

Riley Blogger

The Riley Blog is written and/or edited by members of the Riley Children's Foundation Communications Staff.

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