It’s no surprise that a kid as active as Caiden Rogers wanted an early start in life. Born at 24 weeks’ gestation, Caiden was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health to receive the highest level of support for his lung disease. Once considered one of the sickest babies at Riley, Caiden required six months of a carefully coordinated team effort from Riley specialists to grow strong enough to go home.
Caiden receives ongoing treatment for asthma and a mild developmental delay. His personality is “coming through full throttle,” according to his mother Shakiyla. “He surprises me every day.” Riley Neonatologist Liz Wetzel, M.D., credits Shakiyla’s “fierce advocacy” with nurturing Caiden’s resilient spirit. Their medical journey inspired Shakiyla to earn her nursing degree and secure a position in the Riley Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where she uses Caiden’s story to fuel hope for other parents. “Whatever you want to do―if you want to be the President of the United States―you can still do that with everything you’ve been through,” Shakiyla has told her son. “I hope that he can encourage others to do the same.”