Tina's "Salon" at Riley

June 1, 2018

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Riley kid Tina Weldon

It’s hard to describe the impact of moving away from home to live in a hospital. Normal life can be stripped away in a matter of seconds, to be exchanged for new surroundings and unknown outcomes. 

When Tina Weldon was a little more than 1 year old, she was admitted to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health as a very sick little girl. Tina has a rare disease called bladder retention and chronic intestinal pseudo-obstruction. For more than two years, doctors at Riley worked to help Tina with this illness that caused her to hold food and water in her body for much too long. At first, nothing seemed to be working and Tina went through countless surgeries.

Regardless of the difficult circumstances, Tina and the Weldons discovered something positive about living in this new surrounding and unknown place: family. “The nurses and doctors at Riley are family to us, and Riley became like our second home,” said Tina’s mother, Janell Weldon. The Weldon family connected to Riley Pediatric Surgeon Alan Ladd, M.D., and Pediatric Gastroenterologist Joseph Croffie, M.D., as well as the nursing staff on 9 East. “We absolutely adore them,” said Janell. “They are always taking care of Tina like she is their family. We wouldn’t be where we are without them.” 

Tina bonded with her new “family” as well. The nurses hung a sign on Tina’s door, renaming her room “Tina’s Nail and Makeup Salon.” The nurses then allowed Tina to give them makeovers with lip gloss in all colors of the rainbow, and each nail painted a different color. “Those nurses wore their makeup proudly,” Janell said. 

Tina has since returned to her “first home” in Mishawaka, Ind. However, she visits Riley often. “When we go to visit, we are visiting family,” Janell said. She shares this message with donors who support Riley: “Thank you, not only for my daughter, but also for the other kids who are there. You make every day better for everyone there.” 

Riley Blogger

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

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