LaDavion "Dee" Jones

LaDavion "Dee" Jones, Evansville

Artist, athlete and aspiring orthopedic surgeon—LaDavion Jones from Evansville, Ind., is a determined 11-year-old boy with big dreams.

Born with flat feet and severe ankle issues, LaDavion, or “Dee” to friends and family, has had multiple surgeries at Riley Hospital for Children, beginning when he was 6. “Each time, they operate on both feet, one after the other, so we make multiple trips to Indianapolis,” says LaDavion’s mother, Kendra Jones. “It’s tough, but he is so strong.”

LaDavion isn’t one to dwell on the negative. Despite dealing with daily pain, the 6th grader plays basketball and is on a travel baseball team. He wears custom-made braces and ices his feet and ankles after practice.

Creating things is another passion for LaDavion, who lights up when he talks about a favorite school elective class called Gateway to Engineering. “We get to cut wood and make video games,” he says. “We use the computer to design our own games and characters.” 

LaDavion’s art will reach a much larger audience this holiday season. A snowman he crafted from cotton balls and construction paper is featured on Riley holiday cards and ornaments through the annual “The Gift of Hope Happens Here” fundraising campaign.

LaDavion’s mother is thankful for those who give back to Riley through this and other campaigns. Gifts from supporters providing critical funding for programs including: Riley pediatric research; specialty clinical care; Child Life; and social work.

“I’m a single parent with not a lot of income, and the staff at Riley go out of their way to help us with gas cards and rooming,” Kendra says, choking up. “I’ve been so grateful. I truly appreciate those who give back, from the bottom of my heart.”

While art is something he enjoys, as for his future career path, LaDavion has aspirations of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. “I want to help the kids who have the same problems as me,” he says. If the determination he’s shown so far is any indication, LaDavion’s mother says there’s no doubt he’ll achieve his dreams.

“I’m so proud of him and how far he’s come,” she says. “This experience has made him a great young man.”

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