World-Class Care, Comforting Touch

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Walker Allen, Westville, Ind.

Gifts from donors help the Riley Cancer Center care for the vast majority of children in Indiana who have cancer, around 200 new patients every year. For 12-year-old sports fan Walker Allen, Riley Hospital is the only place in Indiana that offers children such comprehensive pediatric cancer care.

Riley also provides emotional support to keep Walker’s spirits high as he battles leukemia. Child Life Specialist Caitlin Dougherty plays games with Walker in his room and helps him stay calm and comfortable during procedures. Nurse Jessica Gorka, RN, BSN, provides a comforting touch Walker has grown to trust. “I’ve always wanted to take care of kids who have cancer,” says Gorka, whose younger brother is a pediatric cancer survivor. “Walker told me he feels safe with me and I was one of his favorites. I feel honored that he wants me to take care of him whenever I’m here.” 

Riley is the only place in Indiana where children have access to cutting-edge treatments through the Children’s Oncology Group Phase I and Pilot Consortium, and the only children’s hospital offering a Pediatric Precision Genomics program to tailor treatments for aggressive cancers. From Walker’s perspective, what matters most is how his caregivers make him feel. “They are nice and caring,” he says.

Riley Blogger

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

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