Riley Lesh

Riley kid Riley Lesh with Dr. Paul Haut
Riley Lesh, Indianapolis, with Dr. Paul Haut

Riley Lesh has more friends in college than the average sixth-grader. Then again, most sixth-graders haven’t been to 139 collegiate and high school Riley Dance Marathons in the past seven years. But Riley isn’t like most of the kids her age.

Born three and a half months premature, Riley spent 90 days in the Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). During all of the follow-up appointments and check-ups, Riley Hospital became the Lesh family’s “second home.”

Since her stay in the NICU, Riley and her parents, Rick and Julie Lesh, have devoted their time to giving back to the hospital that saved Riley’s life. Riley has made more than 100 blankets for the Riley NICU and has spent the past seven years sharing her story at Riley Dance Marathons.

Riley has attended 139 Riley Dance Marathons since 2006—the most ever by a kid, according to Children’s Miracle Network. This past year, Riley decided to do more than share her story—she decided to raise money too. Riley signed up as a dancer at seven collegiate dance marathons and raised more than $2,150 for Riley Hospital. To raise money, Riley made and sold loom bracelets at the dance marathons and other events.

Honoring Riley’s Philanthropic Commitment

On June 9, 2014, Riley Children’s Foundation officially honored Riley as the 2014 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana. 

The Champions program brings 50 children together from across the country that all have tackled severe medical challenges. Riley will help represent the 17 million children that are treated at 170 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals each year. Through the Champions program, she will continue supporting fundraising campaigns for Riley Hospital. In November 2014, Riley and her family will visit Walt Disney World and Washington, D.C. from November 8-18, to inspire others to support children’s hospitals.

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