Meet Caroline. "Riley has made these moments possible."

October 30, 2020
Topics: Heart (cardiology), Riley Kid Story

Caroline Durcholz Full Sise 2020.30.10
Riley Kid Carloine Durcholz

Caroline Durcholz was born on March 30, 2016 and immediately admitted to the Newborn Intensive Care Unit at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health. Tracy and Mark Durcholz knew of their daughter’s congenital heart disease (CHD) before birth but nothing could prepare them for the surgeries, hospital stays, and health scares Caroline would face over the next four years.

Being a parent to a newborn with an unfamiliar diagnosis is a significant challenge. That is where Tracy says Riley has consistently gone the extra mile.

“I knew nothing about having a child with CHD. The staff make sure you understand everything and are comfortable with it all,” Tracy explains.

In four years, Caroline has had three open heart surgeries and 16 hospital admissions; the longest consecutive stay being seven months. In total, Caroline has spent more than a fourth of her life at Riley

Tracy says the personalized care has made all the difference.

“They take the time to get to know everything about Caroline and associate you with her. They walk by her room, wave, and say, ‘Hi Caroline!’ Her caregivers all know her name and take the time to pop in and see if we need anything,” Tracy says.

Today, Caroline is home in Ferdinand, Indiana, doing well following her third open heart surgery in November 2019. She is getting stronger every day and loves spending time with her family and big sister doing crafts, puzzles, and visiting the library.

Tracy says the little things like seeing Caroline walk on her own, play independently, and kneel to pray before bedtime make her especially emotional.

“Riley has made those moments possible,” she says.

Please join us on November 18th, for our free virtual Riley Rally as we all rally behind Riley kids like Caroline to show them our support.

Riley Blogger

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

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