Hidden Talents


December 9, 2019
Topics: Riley Kid Story, Cancer (oncology)



Ben Edwards

My 10-year-old son, Ben, is a nine-year brain cancer survivor. The ability to beat brain cancer would seem to be enough talent for anyone, but I recently learned he has a hidden talent too. Ben can paint an impressive-looking snowman! I never would have known this if he had not been asked to create artwork for ornaments that promote the annual Riley Children’s Foundation holiday season fundraising campaign. 

Like Ben, Riley Hospital for Children is full of hidden talents that only become visible when they are needed. Riley’s staff works all year long to research new cures for childhood diseases and to apply that research to heal children. They do all of this while making the hospital a welcoming place for children and families. 

My family and I learned of Ben’s cancer in the spring of 2011. Ben was 1-and-a-half years old at the time. Not long after he began to walk, he started falling down. He would wake up screaming and feeling disoriented. Finally, after several trips to various doctors, a neurologist took one look at him and immediately sent us to x-ray Ben’s brain. The x-ray found a brain tumor and that’s when we discovered Riley’s hidden talents. 

Ben’s neurosurgery team contained some of the most talented people in any profession. They performed impossible surgery and removed the tumor. After the surgical resection, we discovered the importance of proton beam therapy for insuring that an ependymoma tumor did not recur. After four surgeries and three months of radiation treatment, Riley’s talents were anything but hidden. Ben began to live a normal and healthy life.

The holiday season is a great time to not only celebrate the talents of those around us, but support those talents as well. Please consider including Riley as part of your seasonal giving plans. The doctors, nurses, and staff at Riley are working all year, all the time, but we only discovered Riley Hospital when we needed their talents. Ben only discovered he could paint when Riley needed his. 

Today, our 10-year-old boy is nine years cancer-free and capable of painting a pretty awesome snowman ornament! As Ben and our family can tell you, the best hidden talents in Indiana are at Riley Hospital.  

To buy Riley holiday ornaments and cards, visit RileyHolidayCards.org.


Chris Edwards, Ed. D.

Chris Edwards, Ed.D, teaches AP World History teacher at Fishers High School, and is the author of several books including 'Teaching Genius: Redefining Education with Lessons from Science and Philosophy.' Chris donates the royalties from 'Teaching Genius' to Riley Children's Foundation in support of pediatric cancer research at Riley Hospital. Chris and his wife Beth live in New Palestine are the parents of two boys, Blake, and Ben, who is doing well after being treated at Riley for a cancerous brain tumor.


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