"You are extraordinary people." A Riley employee and father's message of thanks

Derrick Hawkins
Riley Information Technology team member Derrick Hawkins with his 8-year-old daughter, Macenzie.

Words Are Not Enough

To everyone who supports Riley Hospital, and especially to my Riley co-workers who have given more than $125,000 this year through the Heart of Riley program, thank you. Words are not enough. It’s donations like yours—it’s people like you—who’ve made my daughter’s treatment possible.

My daughter Macenzie just turned 8 years old. She loves swimming, horses, coloring, sports and cars. Last fall, she started having fevers, then hip pain. We eventually learned that she has neuroblastoma, a form of childhood cancer which caused a tumor on her adrenal gland and spread into her bone marrow. Her doctors at Riley Hospital are leading us through aggressive treatment for her cancer, including chemotherapy, surgery and a stem cell transplant. She has been a trooper through it all.

A Magical Place

Riley Hospital is a magical place. People here have been fantastic, from the administrative assistants to the nurses to the doctors. The Child Life Specialists on the fifth floor have given Macenzie something to look forward to. Having somebody whose sole mission is to let kids have fun and let everything disappear for an hour—that’s critical. Donations make those services possible.

Your Gifts Create Hope

Your gifts also help pay for pediatric research going on here on at Riley Hospital and the Wells Center. Through my work in Information Technology, I see our physician-scientists doing their work every day. They’re constantly trying new things. But it’s even more exciting to see how their work can potentially apply to my daughter and other kids. Macenzie is enrolled in a pilot clinical research trial through COG (Children’s Oncology Group). During her stem cell transplant process she will receive a drug combination of Busulfan and melphalan which appears in European studies to increase survival rates for Macenzie’s type of cancer. We are hopeful it will improve her odds.

More Than a Job

Lots of charities ask for donations. But because I work here at Riley, this is the only place I donate to. I see the results of our donations, both as an employee and a Riley parent.

Those of you who work at Riley Hospital like I do realize that being a part of Riley is more than coming to work. We’re here to help people. We are here because we want to do something that’s greater than ourselves.

You are extraordinary people. I can’t say thank you enough.

Riley Blogger

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

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