Why Riley is my Dream Job

trisha micky author image
Trisha Shepherd with Riley kid Mickey Deputy

Four years ago, I signed off from the evening news for the last time. I left behind a 15-year career in television broadcasting, and began a true “dream job” ― working for Riley Children’s Foundation.

It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

It is hard to imagine a profession more rewarding to me than this one. As a member of the Communications and Marketing team, I get to listen to the awe-inspiring stories of Riley families and staff members and share those stories with the public through Riley Messenger magazine, newsletters, blogs and videos. Having gone through major spinal surgery for scoliosis as a child, I understand what it feels like to be a kid facing big, scary medical battles. It feels so good to know that although I’m not a doctor or a research scientist, I can do something to help make things better for kids who need medical help.

I fall in love with every one of the Riley kids I meet. The very first patient I interviewed after accepting the position was the unforgettable Mickey Deputy. Mickey had surgery as a baby to repair holes in her beautiful heart. Then, when she was seven years old, she found out she had leukemia.

Mickey didn’t just face that battle with courage. She faced it with joy. She danced with her nurses. When she was too sick or weak to dance, she danced with her fingers.

When her hair started to fall out from chemotherapy, she didn’t cry: She turned her hair into confetti.

Mickey has taught me that we all have the power to be courageous and strong in adversity. But we can also aspire to reach for something greater -  joy.  Even when we are faced with enormous challenges, there’s always a way to find a ray of sunshine.

In my case, as I struggled with a television career that did not let me be the kind of mother I wanted to be, the joy I so desperately wanted was time with my kids and a career with more purpose. When I finally knew when to run from that career, I followed my bliss. And I got it.

Mickey was by my side last Friday night as I celebrated the release of my book, “Know When to Run: Lessons from the Diary of a Gen X Mom,” documenting my career change decision. It was wonderful to have Mickey with me for such a milestone moment.

I’m happily donating a portion of the proceeds from the book to Riley Children’s Foundation, an organization to which I will always be grateful.

Riley provides kids and families with hope, and also provides me with something priceless: a chance to make a difference for incredible families, while also being there for my own.

Trisha Lawless, Manager, Communications, Riley Children's Foundation

Trisha joined the Riley Children’s Foundation Communications team in 2011 after working for 15 years as a television news journalist. Her professional role includes overseeing content for Riley social media, videos and publications such as Riley Messenger magazine. Trisha and her husband Ben Lawless live in Indianapolis and have six children in their newly blended family.

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