Jace Describes His Perfect Day
December 20, 2019
Topics: Riley Kid Story
Each year, several special children who show courage and commitment to helping others while navigating medical obstacles are selected to serve as Riley Champions presented by Kroger. 2020 Riley Champion Jace Randel from Wabash, Ind., received treatment for severe aplastic anemia at Riley Hospital for Children. He requested that funds raised for his care be given instead to Riley Children’s Foundation. We checked in with Jace about how his Champion year is going so far.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Football and baseball.
Tell us about your Riley story. What brought you to Riley Hospital?
When I was 10 years old I began to not feel well. My mom took me to see our pediatrician, Dr. Richard Keller. He ordered bloodwork that turned out to be abnormal. Dr. Keller called a few of his friends at Riley. At first, they thought I had leukemia, but after my first bone marrow biopsy, leukemia was ruled out. I spent that weekend in Riley along with many other stays while my amazing doctor, Dr. Grzegorz Nalepa, the most brilliant man on earth, began the task of trying to figure out what was going on. About four months later, Grzegorz had ruled out a lot of bad diseases except aplastic anemia. On December 31st, Grzegorz did my last bone marrow biopsy and diagnosed me with severe aplastic anemia. My family and I decided a bone marrow transplant would be my best option. They all went through testing to see if any of them would be a match. My sister Audrie was a perfect match for me. On March 17th, 2015, I had my port placed, and on March 18th I was admitted to the hospital to prepare for my bone marrow transplant. March 24th is my re-birthday.
What does it mean to you to be a 2020 Riley Champion? What was your reaction when you found out that you had been selected?
It means everything to me. When I found out I was selected it was special to me. What made it even more special was the fact that Dr. Nalepa, my late doctor, had been the person who nominated me. It was like a bittersweet "see ya later, kid."
What has been the highlight of your Champion year so far?
I really liked being a Coin Toss Kid at an Indianapolis Colts game. It was a fun way to bond with the other Champions.
Why is it important to donate to Riley Children’s Foundation?
If more people would donate, there could be more success stories like mine, and more Riley Champions for years to come. If everyone does even something small, it can make a big difference.
If you could describe your perfect day, what would that look like?
I would be at a Cowboys football game. Afterward, I would go eat with my family, and then we would play a family game of football at home.
Make a gift today at BeTheHopeNOW.org to help kids like Jace thrive. French Lick Resort will match individual gifts through December 31, 2019.
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