My Three Ties to Riley: Staff, Parent and Donor

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Beth and Josh Summitt

There is no hospital where I’d rather work than Riley. I’ve worked in the Riley Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for 20 years, and last year I began a supervisory position in NICU respiratory care. Riley is the kind of place you put a lot into, and you get a lot out of. 

My work took on new meaning six years ago when I became not only a Riley employee, but also a Riley parent. It was November 7, 2011 when it became crystal clear to myself and to my husband Joe (a respiratory therapist who also worked at Riley for 18 years) that something was wrong with our son Josh. 

Leading up to that day Josh had been thirsty a lot, going to the bathroom a lot, and eating a lot. Overnight, he came downstairs thirsty and looking for more water. He got up to use the restroom about every 30 minutes that night. 

I prayed all night. The next day, my husband Joe took Josh to the doctor while I went to work in the Riley NICU. It was a busy day, and I was with a very sick patient. Joe called me at work and told me that Josh’s blood sugar measured over 400, and that they were coming to Riley. 

A nurse practitioner was next to me. I told her, “I think my son has just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.” A respiratory therapist was standing next to her who happens to be a type 1 diabetic, and she burst into tears.

I finally broke away and met my husband and son in the Riley emergency department. To this day, Josh (who is now 13) thinks of it as one of the most fun times of his life because he was treated so well. The care at Riley is really personal. The nurses, respiratory therapists, social workers, diabetes educators, and physicians were so kind to Josh and my family.  The fact that Josh’s endocrinologist, Dr. Emily Walvoord, is a colleague and a teammate as well as my son’s doctor makes her feel like family. She has been so great with Josh. 

I feel so blessed to have a job that is that rewarding. It feels selfish to not give back. Our family has chosen to direct our gifts in support of Riley diabetes research. I feel so confident that they will find a cure. 

It means the world when I see my Riley colleagues participating in Employee Giving during The Gift of Hope Happens Here holiday season campaign. If you passionately believe in the mission of Riley Hospital, it seems natural to want to support that.

Beth Summitt

Beth Summitt is a respiratory care supervisor in the Riley Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she has worked for 20 years. She recently completed a Master’s degree in Christian Ministry. She lives in Indianapolis with her husband, Joe, their son Josh, a Riley type 1 diabetes patient, their 15-year-old son Nate, and their 11-year-old daughter Jillian.

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