Owen George loves baseball and is a huge St. Louis Cardinals fan. Watching the players move inspires the 13-year-old, for whom movement has always been a challenge.
Owen’s mother, Mindy, was 20 weeks’ pregnant when she learned Owen had spina bifida, a condition in which a portion of the neural tube fails to develop or close properly, leading to defects in the spinal cord and backbone. Owen needed surgery immediately after birth. The family quickly connected with specialists at Riley Hospital for Children for continuing care.
At first, the family made frequent drives to Indianapolis from the Georges’ southern Indiana hometown of Newburgh. Then, a partnership formed between Deaconess Gateway Hospital and Riley Hospital. “Instead of a three-and-a-half to four-hour drive, we could just drive down the street,” Mindy explains.
Owen’s 19 surgeries have not deterred his young spirit. “The care that Riley has given Owen has also given him the confidence to do and try everything that the rest of his peers are doing, which is a testament to his positive outlook on life,” says Owen’s father, Art.
Owen has made it his mission to spread the word about acceptance and determination. He has an annual lemonade stand to raise money for the Easter Seals Rehab Center, and he is not shy about sharing his hopes and goals. “I want to be more independent, and eventually walk without canes,” he says.
The Riley Champion is looking forward to sharing his story this year to show others the importance of supporting Riley. “I see myself giving back to Riley by letting people know how good the hospital, staff and doctors are,” he says. “I’ll tell people what a happy place it is, and how they make you feel at home.”
In This Section
Your Impact on the Riley Relief Fund June 2, 2020
We put out the call that Riley Hospital for Children needed help during the COVID pandemic and you answered. Find out how your donations impacted Riley kids, their families, and hospital staff.×
Nurses Week 2020 May 7, 2020
A heartfelt thank you to the nurses at Riley Hosptial for Children as we celebrate Nurses Week!×
Waiting for Two Miracles April 27, 2020
Riley mom Amie Hastings lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic. Your donations to the Riley Relief Fund provides emergency assistance to Riley families during the coronavirus crisis. It also supports Riley program and team member needs, and gives doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals flexibility as they respond to the evolving healthcare crisis.×
Happy Birthday, Teddy! April 16, 2020
Riley kid Giancarlo "Teddy" Gomez celebrates his eighth birthday at Riley Hospital for Children. Please join us in wishing him a Happy Birthday!×
A Piece of Riley June 27, 2019
I am the Riley Wagon. I mean a lot of things to different people. I'm also a way for donors, like the Burr family, to give back to Riley Hospital for Children.×
Be the Star You Are May 22, 2019
Check out this behind the scenes look at the 2019 Riley Cancer Center Prom.×
Meet Rowan Breyts March 19, 2019
A baby dies in Indiana about every 14 hours. Rowan Breyts was not one of them. However, he came dangerously close.×
Be the Hope NOW: The Campaign for Kids December 19, 2018
We have launched a $175 million campaign for Riley Hospital to save kids’ lives through three high-priority programs.×
Kennedy's Story: How Family Support Helps December 19, 2018
Watch the Strayer Family's story about their Riley journey.×
Sheila and Jameson's Story December 19, 2018
Sheila Dolan shares how the donor-funded Riley Maternity and Newborn Health team saved her life, and her son’s life.×