To the Riley Hospital for Children Staff and Supporters
Thank you for saving my life when I was six years old. In my 24-day stay at Riley, I was not only miraculously cured after tireless efforts by my team of physicians, but I was also treated with kindness and love, which truly made all the difference. I don’t remember much from my stay, but my favorite thing that has stuck with me was when a Riley staff member would come into my room and do a craft or play a board game with me. Not only did that keep my mind off of the bad things by giving me fun things to do, but we also used these activities as physical therapy, since they required me to reach forward and stretch out my muscles. I admire that about the nature of Riley, as they turned grueling physical therapy into something fun and enjoyable.
Since my time at Riley, I have lived a full and extremely happy life. I have excelled in academics, being one of the Top 30 students in my class of 635, being a part of National Honor Society, earning numerous distinguished honor rolls, and receiving many scholarships in my senior year. As a gymnast between the ages of 18 months and 14 years, I had to take a lengthy break from the sport when I got sick. Thankfully, Riley fixed me up to go back to gymnastics (my second home) as quickly as possible, and I went on to thrive in the sport, learning countless new skills, moving up level by level, and earning an abundance of gold medals and distinctions. I became a cheerleader in seventh grade, cheering all throughout middle and high school. Over my high school career, I earned various distinctions such as being a four-year varsity letterman, making the academic all-state team, being voted team captain for three consecutive years, and earning awards such as Most Valuable Cheerleader and Most Spirited.
The biggest development in my life that has stemmed from my love for Riley Hospital for Children is that I joined the Lawrence North Dance Marathon Club. In this club, I was the director of the on-campus recruitment committee. This meant I was in charge of raising awareness for the cause in order to get more people around us involved in our efforts to fundraise. Despite the fact that this requires lots of work on my end, I have enjoyed every part of what we do in Dance Marathon. We organize several fun events and activities throughout the school year, which make the fundraising process much more pleasurable, and then our big, main event in April is something we all anticipate and love. I am involved in helping others and volunteering because I thoroughly enjoy making other people happy, but what makes Dance Marathon so special is that I was a Riley Kid. My connection to Riley deepens my passion for this cause and its importance in my life. Giving back to the place that saved my life is so fulfilling, and it’s amazing to see the results of the work we do. There is no doubt that I will be continuing this work in Dance Marathon throughout my years at Indiana University.
My connection to Riley through my stay there and through my work in fundraising for Dance Marathon has really boosted my ever-present love for helping others; since I had already had a desire to go into the medical field, I have come to realize that nursing is the perfect fit for me. Raising money for the kids, seeing some of their journeys and triumphs, and knowing that all of our efforts paid off to help those in need is truly what drove me to want to pursue nursing this fall at Indiana University. I am forever indebted to Riley Hospital for Children for allowing me to continue living happily and healthily, and I am tremendously excited to continue helping sick kids in this next chapter of my life.
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