My AMAZING Champion Year

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Rosie Tarlton, Lapel, Ind.

Do you know someone who has received care at Riley Hospital and should be a 2016 Riley Champion? Click here to nominate them. All submissions are due by Saturday, August 2!

I have been saved, inspired, motivated and blessed by all of those that I have crossed paths with at Riley Hospital since my month-long stay in the NICU 18 years ago. From the NICU, to cardiology, to the audiology department, everyone was supportive every step of the way.

It all started way before I even could comprehend what was going on. Strangers, friends, and family were supporting me and praying for me while I stayed in a room with 12 other extremely sick babies.

My parents’ daily schedules changed drastically after March 11, 1997. It wasn't the typical new child experience that they were so familiar with after four other kids. It was their first time watching their newborn be sent in an ambulance to a place they never thought they would have to be—Riley Hospital for Children. Little did they know that they would learn so much medical terminology such as Super Ventricular Tachycardia or auditory brain stem response. Who ever knew that they would be sitting in a hospital worrying about whether or not their child was going to survive a heart episode that lasted 48 hours? They didn’t expect Riley to be their home away from home, but indeed, it was! They were never expecting to leave the hospital with a child who had a severe hearing loss. I guarantee at that moment they never knew that a severe hearing loss would ever be a blessing in disguise.

Here I am today, a healthy 18-year-old who just graduated high school and is about to attend college in the fall!  I never knew that people would call or even consider me a “Champion.”

My dad came home from a Kroger meeting one day, and told us about the Riley Champions program. I was lucky enough to be chosen to be a 2015 Riley Champion Presented by Kroger.  It has been an AMAZING year!! I didn’t think that I would ever have the courage to go around asking people to donate money for an amazing cause. I have done all of that and I have done it all with pride all for an amazing place that SAVED my life.

Many of the Riley events we were invited to were life changing and eye opening!! IUPUI’s Jagathon (Dance Marathon) was even the motivation behind my college decision. There was no better time to be a Riley Champion than my senior year. I was given SO many once in a lifetime opportunities. I met MANY other amazing and inspiring individuals. Dee, Camille, Rex, Emma, Abbie, Addison, and Austin have become such great friends! They all inspire me in their own unique ways. They have conquered so much in their lives and I wouldn’t want to be a champion with any other group of individuals. We have made a lot of memories that will forever be remembered and I know that I have made lifelong friendships all while giving back and supporting the place that we all love so much.

I cannot thank Kroger and their employees enough for all of the love, support, and encouragement they have poured onto me during my journey as a 2015 Riley Champion presented by Kroger. They made me feel so special and they are truly an amazing company who cares so much about the children and families at Riley Hospital.

THANK YOU to EVERYONE who supports or donates to Riley! You are helping them to provide hope and healing to more kids and families like mine!  Also, don’t forget to nominate an inspiring patient to be a 2016 Riley Champion!!! All submissions are due Saturday, August 2!

Rosie Tarlton

Rosie recently graduated from Lapel High School and will be attending IUPUI this fall. She enjoys representing Riley through community events and has served as a 2015 Riley Champion Presented by Kroger and as a 2015 Speedway Miracle Child. Rosie hopes to continue volunteering with Riley Children’s Foundation and Riley Hospital throughout her collegiate experience.

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