"I Woke Up Today Thanks to Riley"

June 21, 2019
Topics: Riley Kid Story

frank image
Riley kid Frank Meehan and his mother, Jane.

Riley kid Frank Meehan had a passion for cars. When he passed away, he was nearly finished with the auto body program at Ivy Tech Community College. He didn’t have his driver’s license yet, but he had already bought a car of his own and a Riley specialty license plate, which included a donation to Riley Children’s Foundation.

Frank began having seizures out of the blue at age 13. He started treatment in his hometown of Fort Wayne and was referred to Riley Hospital. Doctors tried several different medications, but side effects made it difficult for Frank to function. He missed the second half of eighth grade due to seizures, memory issues and sensitivity to light and sound. “We sat in silence because everything bothered him, but Frank never gave up,” his mother Jane recalled.

Eventually, Lisa Smith, M.D., and her team helped Frank go from having 175 seizures a year to 13. Encouraged by his progress, Frank and his Riley neurosurgeon wanted to take the final step to have a vagal nerve stimulator placed – an implant attached to the largest nerve that controls the brain. His surgery took place in December 2016, and the procedure cut his number of seizures in half and gave Frank more control over his health.

Frank didn’t miss a single day of his junior or senior year of high school, and he was able to have his academic scholarships reinstated. He was a member of his high school tennis team, participated in Key Club, coached youth soccer, and volunteered at his church. When his family talked at dinner each day about what they were grateful for, Frank would say, “I woke up today thanks to Riley Hospital.”

Frank passed away from a seizure in his sleep in November 2017. To honor his second chance on life, his family requested that donations in Frank’s memory go to the Neurology program at Riley Hospital. “Even though he didn’t make it to his 20th birthday, he loved knowing that there were so many people at Riley who cared about him,” Jane shared.

“Because of donor support, my son was able to be Frank again.”

Put the wagon on your wheels! Visit RileyKids.org/LicensePlate or your local BMV branch to purchase your own Riley red wagon license plate. You can switch at any time to a Riley plate, even if your license plate is not up for renewal. The BMV will prorate your fee.

Riley Blogger

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

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