Meet Graham Helft

August 15, 2016
Topics: Donors, Riley Kid Story

graham blog image
Graham Helft, Indianapolis

One of the most inspiring things about working for Riley Children’s Foundation is seeing all the creative ways Riley kids decide to give back.

Riley orthopedics patient Graham Helft, a North Central High School junior, is putting his passion for music to work raising money to support Riley’s music therapy program. He plays his guitar in public places such as the Monon Trail and Indy’s Mass Ave. district in exchange for donations. 

Here’s how Graham explains his inspiration: 

“I was diagnosed with scoliosis (curvature of the spine) six months ago and Riley helped with the process of treatment, including the initial diagnosis. Dr. Loder is the doctor who diagnosed me with scoliosis and he has been very supportive. There really is no upside to scoliosis except perhaps that I gained a little bit of perspective about health conditions for children at Riley, although mine cannot even compare to some of theirs. The back brace I have to wear restricts my breathing but there is no other downside. I was inspired by the children at Riley to give back to the music therapy program and by my desire to promote music in my community. I have been busking for several months and have raised over $1,200 dollars for the program. Music therapy is a wonderful program that is worth giving back to.”

Graham’s talent—and his selfless decision to give back to Riley—have drawn attention from local media and praise from hospital staff, including Riley Cheer Guild director and Music Therapist Ann Hannan.

“As you watch Graham perform, you can clearly see his passion and dedication to his music,” explains Hannan. “His demeanor is relaxed and humble, and despite acclaim from members throughout the community, he does not appear to realize the magnitude of his own talent. Graham performed for over 150 members of the Riley Cheer Guild at their annual luncheon. They were all amazed by his dedication to the children at Riley Hospital for Children. He was featured in a front page story in the Indianapolis Star newspaper where he describes the importance of music for himself and for the kids who have to be in the hospital. Graham Helft serves as an inspiration to young people in the state of Indiana through his philanthropic spirit. His parents are both physicians in the Indianapolis area, and their support of Graham’s efforts is unwavering. This giving and compassionate spirit is evident in the work that they do for their patients, and they have demonstrated this commitment within their own family as evidenced by Graham’s choices.”

Thank you, Graham, for using your gifts to make a difference for fellow patients at Riley Hospital!

Click here to view Graham's story on WISH-TV.

Riley Blogger

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

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