Meet Olive

April 10, 2020
Topics: Riley Kid Story


Olive Ratcliff was just a few months old when it was clear something was wrong. “Her behavior was changing, she became moody and never satisfied,” said her mother Taylor, who had taken Olive to her pediatrician as Olive became physically ill then stopped eating and drinking. Taylor rushed her from their home in Wallace, Ind. to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis when Olive became lethargic. “The pediatrician was thinking all of Olive’s symptoms were from a viral infection,” said Taylor. “They ran tests and when her labs came back they had discovered Olive was severely neutropenic.” The low level of white blood cells stemming from neutropenia kept Olive’s body from fighting infection. Olive would spend long stretches of time at Riley and make weekly visits after that as a team of specialty doctors cared for her complex set of conditions.

Closing in on her second birthday, Olive’s mom says she is living a happy life. “She is very strong and independent,” says Taylor. Olive’s treatment at Riley has led to improvement, but her immune system is still at a weak level so her mother, along with her father Evan and other family members go to great lengths to limit her exposure to germs. As Riley doctors continue Olive’s treatment, her mom says the communication among Riley specialists has impressed her. “She was seeing five teams of doctors, and it was amazing for me to see them communicate so well together and make it more efficient for Olive’s treatment. On a visit, instead of having to poke her three times, they would draw blood one time and make sure they had all the labs they needed.” 

Taylor Ratcliff says she will always be grateful to Riley staff and volunteers who provided support when they needed it most. “We were there 10 days straight and we didn’t pack anything. They brought in toys for her to keep while she was in isolation. They gave us soap, shampoo and laundry soap that made all the difference. It was very helpful because you never want to leave your child when they are in the hospital. Riley has done so much for us and really helped Olive and her quality of life.”

Riley Blogger

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

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