Why We Give: Advancing Care for Kids

March 10, 2016
Topics: Heart (cardiology), Riley Kid Story

monica blog image
Monica and Sylvie Hoover, Indianapolis

When our daughter Sylvie was 36 hours old, Riley Pediatric Cardiologist Dr. Timothy Cordes walked into our recovery room. One thought cut through the fog of joy and exhaustion that fills the head of every mother with a newborn: they don’t send you a cardiologist to tell you everything is okay. 

With patience and clarity, Dr. Cordes gently outlined Sylvie’s congenital heart defect (CHD) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) to our stunned silence. He was confident about how he and others at Riley Hospital for Children would care for our baby in the coming months and years. And Riley has delivered. As I watch our now 4-year-old chase her sister my heart is still filled with gratitude for Dr. Mark Turrentine, Dr. Cordes, and the nursing staff during our 10-day stay at Riley years ago. 

On the day Dr. Cordes broke the news to us we had many reasons to be hopeful, but congenital heart defects are still serious business. He was careful to explain the warning signs to watch for as we waited for the open-heart surgery that would correct her heart defect. 

Corrective surgery. What a gift. How thankful I am we live in a time of corrective surgery. 

Before I was born, doctors, researchers and lab assistants worked to perform the first TOF repair. Donors gave with the belief that their financial contributions would fund knowledge and techniques that would outlive them and save children they would never meet. How thankful I am to Riley researchers, and all the donors in the past whose financial gifts made TOF repair possible for our Sylvie. 

And the research continues. Many work to improve the procedures that repair hearts and save the lives of children. An additional future surgery is still a question mark for Sylvie, and so we give to fund this research. It is easy for us to give—of course! Our hearts are closely tied to Riley—as closely tied as the heart health of our daughter is. 

But I know our giving will benefit the hearts of others too—and not just the kids with TOF. Kids in Indianapolis will benefit as well as those in Indiana and across the US. The knowledge that is gained in research labs here will jump oceans and save kids born with congenital heart defects in countries around the globe. 

How exciting it is to think about the benefits of discovery not only swirling the globe but also reaching into the future. The kids of Sylvie’s generation will be parents someday. Some of them will be rocking their babies when a cardiologist walks in.

Ultimately, we hope our monetary donation will give other parents the gift of being able to say something even more remarkable: “I’m so thankful to live at a time when this can be corrected without open-heart surgery.”

Monica Hoover

Monica Hoover and her husband Shawn are the parents of two daughters, Emeline and Sylvie. The family lives in Indianapolis.

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