"Little Things Make All the Difference": Simon's Riley Story

Simon Buchsbaum
Simon Buchsbaum, 10, Bloomington

10-year-old Simon Buchsbaum from Bloomington has a lot more energy this fall than he did just a few months ago. A new valve in his heart is making all the difference. “It’s crazy,” says his mother, Robyn Buchsbaum. “He’s doing really well. We’re just so happy.”

Life-Changing Surgery
Simon was born with a series of heart defects known as Tetralogy of Fallot. He underwent two surgeries as a baby, but Robyn and her husband Jeffrey knew he would eventually need a new pulmonary valve. As

Buchsbaum family
The Buchsbaum family

Simon’s heart function deteriorated, Riley cardiologist Dr. Randall Caldwell helped the family pinpoint the best time for surgery. On June 10, 2014, the Buchsbaums sent Simon into one of the new operating rooms in the Riley Simon Family Tower, where heart surgeon Mark Turrentine, M.D., put a new valve in his heart.

“It changes you in a way that’s sort of inexplicable,” says Robyn. Jeffrey, a radiation oncologist who often treats Riley cancer patients, appreciated the compassion the Riley staff showed them as they waited during the surgery. “Even as a physician, all those emotions are running around your head,” he says. “The nurses that came out to give us hourly updates were fantastic.  They were very sensitive.”

A Patient’s Best Advocate

The Buchsbaums were also thankful that Dr. Turrentine was gracious with their tough questions before Simon’s surgery. They came out of that conversation confident that the surgeon’s only motive was to choose the very best valve for Simon’s heart. “He is such an advocate for his patients,” says Robyn. “Whatever his patient needs, that’s what’s going to happen.”

A Message to Donors
During Simon’s recovery, the Buchsbaums appreciated the comfortable, private rooms that offered them space to sleep so they could stay by his side.Robyn shares this message for donors who supported the Simon Family Tower project: “Thank you. I really can’t say enough. It was money well spent. Everything parents need is there, and it’s so cheerful and bright.Those little things make all the difference during such a hard time.”

Riley Blogger

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

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