Thursday, October 13, 2011

ACE is the Place!!!


Recently, I visited White's ACE Hardware in Carmel, Indiana for my CMN Champions send-off party!! ACE is the sponsor for the big trip coming up next week!! ACE Hardware has been a CMN partner for the past 20 years and in that time has raised more than $45 million dollars for Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals nationwide!!! WOW!! Thanks ACE!! :)





I am very excited to go to Disney World and I am even more excited to go to Washington DC!!! I hope we get to spend a little time at the White House with President Obama!!! There are tons of events planned and there will be many opportunities to share my story with some very influential people. I cannot wait to meet all the Champions from the other states!! They are all incredible kids and I know we will all have a blast together!! I will do my best to represent Riley Hospital for Children & our great state of Indiana!!















Monday, September 12, 2011

We are Royalty

Here I am with Miss America 2009 Katie Stam! She's from Indiana, you know!


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HOPE Happens Here





Because of my fantastic & extraordinary (and famous!!!) opthalmologist, along with the other great doctors and nurses who have taken care of me over the past five years at Riley Hospital for Children, I was able to attend my first day of kindergarten at my new school!!! My doctors and nurses at Riley are some of the best ever. My battle against cancer is not over, but when victory comes, I know it will be sweet!! Riley Hospital provides HOPE to each person who walks through its doors. There are doctors, physicians, and researchers working hard every day to find cures for all sorts of childhood diseases. I am living proof that there is HOPE within the walls of Riley Hospital. HOPE HAPPENS HERE is the Riley Hospital motto and it rings true for so many different reasons!! Riley Hospital gave my family HOPE in its darkest hours and today I shine like the sun!! Thanks to all my Riley Family for being a part of my incredible journey.



Check out the video of the song "Hope Happens Here" by the band Telluride (aka Adam Craig Band) that was written just for Riley Hospital for Children.







Saturday, August 13, 2011







Thursday, August 11th, I visited my favorite local Dairy Queen to help kick off Miracle Treat Day. I was fortunate to be joined by the district managers Dave & Lee as well as the owner Michelle. This store was literally wallpapered with Childrens Miracle Network (CMN) paper balloons!! They were even draped from the ceiling!! My mom says it was very exciting to see that when all the paper balloons, each representing peoples donations, were all put together that it made such an impact on a much larger scale. To know that all these balloons are helping kids like me get the treatment that they need really means alot. And to think that this DQ is only one of the thousands of stores across the country is really phenomenal!!! I am so thankful for Dairy Queen's great partnership with CMN and for hosting the Miracle Treat Day every year!! Who knew that enjoying a tasty Bizzard treat could be so morally rewarding?!?!?! Thanks to all who came out in support of CMN Hospitals!!! I will give an update when the final numbers are tallied, and I bet it's going to be HUGE!!!! Thanks y'all!!! :)






Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Here I am with the 2010 Indiana CMN Champion Ramonie Smith. We both did radio interviews for the WIKY radio-athon that took place Monday, August 1st in the atrium of Riley Hospital for Children. It's always great to see friends when visiting Riley!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

This past week, Riley Hospital for Children and the Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation partnered up for its 10th year to raise money for the pediatric cancer research department at Riley. At this years celebrity bowling tournament, called the "Bowling Ball", over $301,000 was raised to fund continued research to help find cures for kids with cancer. As a gift to my good pal Jeff Gordon, me along with 9 other Riley oncology patients presented Jeff with this bowling ball with all of our names engraved on it as a way of saying thank you for all you do for all the kids at Riley Hospital. Jeff Gordon is a very special person and a great philanthropist. His continued efforts in support of Riley Hospital for Children benefit so many children from all over our great state every day. Jeff Gordon is making a very positive impact in the lives of kids just like me. Thank you Jeff!!! (that's my name next to the Riley wagon!!!)

Monday, July 4, 2011

We are so lucky to live in the best country in the world!!
This truly is the land of the free & the home of the brave!!!
Thanks to all the service men & women who have fought for our freedom!!!
Everyone have a safe & happy 4th of July!!!
GOD bless America!!!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thank you to the Purdue University Women's Basketball team especially Coach Versyp. I love playing basketball!!! And guess what?!?!? Only 13 years until I graduate from high school and can try out for the team!!! Look out girls........my stats are awesome!!! Thanks for the autographed basketball Coach!! Boiler UP!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Wrapping up our tour in Lafayette

The last and final stop on my Walmart tour was Lafayette. I was very excited about this store appearance because all of my family came to see what I've been up to while on the road promoting fund-raising for Riley Hospital and Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals. My aunts were there, my grand-parents, my nana, everyone!!! They all caravaned down to Lafayette to see me. Can you believe it?!?! As I entered the store, I was amazed!! There were so many employees and tons of balloons & decorations. Several associates even came from other area stores to take part in the event. I was escorted to the stage to sit on a very tall stool. Greg Williamson shared information about the Lafayette Walmarts efforts over the past year in raising more than $16,000 for Riley Hospital!!! WOW!!! Way to BOILER UP Purdue nation!!! Next my mom shared my story about how Riley Hospital has made it possible for me to be here today. It is because of all my extraordinary doctors & nurses that I am such great shape today. And the fund-raising efforts by Walmart & Sams Club have had a hand in it too!!!! All the money raised goes directly to Riley Hospital to help kids from all over the state of Indiana. Your dedication & drive to continue to support Riley Hospital & Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals year after year speaks volumes. Thank you for always going above & beyond the call of duty when it comes to raising money for Riley kids. On behalf of every child ever treated at Riley Hospital for Children, I appreciate every penny you raise!!!

Thanks to the Walmart team for my new boombox & CDs. I love all my gifts and my cake was awesome!!! You guys are fabulous!! I promise to stop by next time we are passing through town on our way to Indianapolis!!! See you real soon!!!!
Hey!!! Look who I spotted at Walmart on 38th street!!!





Look out Indy...Here I come!!!!













Later that week, after my Terre Haute visit, I traveled to Indianapolis. This was a really special visit because Indianapolis is the home to Riley Hospital for Children. We stopped at the Greenwood Sams Club to congradulate them on raising over $21,000 for Riley Hospital. I presented store managers Stan & Charlie with a plaque and a 4 foot tall banner to hang in their store showing that they are a top fund-raising store in Indiana. It was such a pleasure to meet all the associates and employees who are helping raise money for Riley kids like me. We told jokes and encouraged everyone to continue to drive home the support for Riley. We enjoyed a giant cake with my picture on it and took lots of pictures. After the presentation, Charlie sent me on a shopping spree to pick out things for all the kids at Riley. Jane was my personal shopper. She escorted me through the store to help me select books, DVDs, CDs, and other items that my friends back at Riley could use.

Riley is Indiana's only comprehensive childrens hospital in the state and they treat tens of thousands of kids every year. I think it is important for people to know that Riley Hospital provides HOPE for every person that passes through its doors. My mom says she walks through the doors with confidence every time we visit because she knows that all of my favorite doctors are working hard to find cures for our illnesses. And Sams Club & Walmart are partners that are helping to make this all happen. Every cashier asks every customer to donate because they know that a little pocket change can make a big difference!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Terre Haute is #1 in the State

My second stop on the CMN-Walmart tour was downstate in Terre Haute. I was very excited to visit because I had never been there before. The employees were very welcoming. I entered the store through a human tunnel and there were red Riley balloons everywhere. Mayor Duke Bennett was onhand to show his support for Riley Hospital and to congradulate Walmart #1310 for being the top fundraising store in Indiana. Store Manager Gary Francis then revealed the banner that will hang in their store showing that his team of associates are a gold level team for raising over $31,000 last year for Riley Hospital for Children & Childrens Miracle Network. He encouraged everyone to stay motivated so they could raise even more this year. Rod Henry, the President of the Terre Haute Chamber of Commerce, made me an honorary citizen. And to my surprise, they had a cake made with my picture on it!!! I was then presented with a Walmart gift card which I used to shop for the kids at Riley. I bought them books, DVDs, art supplies, toys, legos, and coloring books.

We spoke to so many Riley families at this event. It seemed like each individual had a Riley story to share. And I think that is what makes this store such a fundraising success story. You have this small town, close-knit community, who like the rest of us, is being effected by tough economic times, but everyone has a personal connection to Riley and that seems to be their driving force to give. They are dedicated to this fundraising event because it hits so close to home. And they are determined to beat out all the other stores in the state, overpowering even the bigger, metropolitan area Walmarts. Gary Francis' team at #1310 has a competitive edge and a compassionate spirit. Thanks for your continued support and loyalty to Riley Hospital for Children.
Earlier this month, I attended the 2nd annual Riley Children's Cancer Center Prom. This event was started last year for kids just like me undergoing treatment for cancer. This years theme was "Wonderland". I had a great time seeing old friends and making new ones too. I danced all night long. I only left the dance floor to refuel with ice cream & cookies. This photo shows me with the Riley Childrens Foundation President & CEO getting down!!! Kevin has some really great moves. He taught me a dance called the "sprinkler"!! We even crowned a king & queen My moms says this is an opportunity for all of us to forget about hospitals, IV's, injections, medicines, surgeries and all the stuff we have to got through everyday in dealing with pediatric cancer. On prom night, we celebrated life and just enjoyed being kids. Thanks to all who helped make this fantastic event possible. It was a night to remember!!

Here is a photo of me with the girls from the Notre Dame Softball team with Coach Gumpf!! Thanks for coming out to show your support for Riley Hospital for Children!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Thanks Coach Gumpf and the entire Notre Dame Womens Softball team.

I love my jersey!! Your love and support mean the world.

And Coach.....you & Tatum are in our prayers daily. Remember.......sorrow looks back, worry looks around, but faith looks up!!! Stay strong!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My photo is at every register to remind people to make a donation to help Indiana kids like me!!!

The Path of a Champion



Today, it all became real. The launch event at the Mishawaka Walmart to announce me as the 2011 CMN Champion for Indiana was a huge success. There was an incredible turnout and the show of support for Riley Hospital for Children was out of this world. I am so proud to be representing Indiana and Riley Hospital. I was presented with a new bicycle and a giant gift basket along with a Walmart giftcard!!! WOW!!! I was being recognized for being a tough little girl with the heart of a champion in my battle against cancer; honestly I was just being myself and doing what had to be done. The way I see it, losers quit when they are tired and winners quit when they have won. I WILL NOT QUIT!!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Champion Within

I am both honored & privileged to represent Indiana as a 2011 Champion for Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals. And I am also happy to represent Riley Hospital for Children, to whom I am greatly indebted. All of my doctors & nurses are top notch and they continue to go above & beyond when it comes to my care. My mom says only the best will do for me!!!

I would like to invite you to come along with me & my family on my journey as a champion. Beginning next week, I will visit several Walmart stores throughout the state to celebrate their partnership with Childrens Miracle Network Hospitals while promoting their continuous fundraising efforts. Without their support and donations, CMN hospitals like Riley couldn't do what they do for kids like me. These store appearances will allow us to personally thank Walmart and Sam's Club, along with its employees, for their determination & drive to continually support CMN and Riley Hospital for Children. At these events, I will share my story to allow people to see where their donations are going and how they are helping children in our community.

My battle has been long, but victory will be sweet.
I continue to overcome. I will beat cancer. I am a champion.

Challenge is inevitable.
Defeat is optional.

Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champions

Champions is a Children's Miracle Network Hospitals program that brings attention to the important work being done at its 170 children’s hospitals. It does this by honoring 51 remarkable kids who have faced severe medical challenges, and helping them tell their stories.

The Champions program designates a child in every state who has bravely battled a serious injury or illness. The Champions represent the nearly 17 million children treated at Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals every year. The 2011 Champions have dealt with a wide variety of injuries and illnesses including genetic diseases, organ transplants and traumas, as well as various types of cancer.

The Champions travel for a week in October, first to Washington, D.C., where they traditionally meet with their state senators on Capitol Hill, and the President of the United States during a visit to the White House. They then take a private chartered flight, provided by Delta Air Lines, to Orlando, Fla. There, champions meet Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals sponsors, hospital representatives and media partners who all convene to celebrate a year of medical miracles during the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Celebration event at Walt Disney World Resort.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

Olivia's Story

Olivia
Age 4

Indiana
Riley Hospital for Children

Cancer

One of the joys of parenthood is taking countless pictures of your children. But Olivia’s mother noticed something odd about her daughter’s eyes in one of her baby photos and suspected something was wrong.

At 3-months-old Olivia was sent to Riley Hospital for Children where she was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma, malignant tumors affecting both of her eyes. Chemotherapy shrunk the tumors in Olivia’s right eye; however, doctors were forced to remove her left.

Olivia has endured more than 30 surgeries to help reduce the remaining tumors in her right eye and, thankfully, no new tumors have been detected. The 4-year-old continues to fight her battle while living an active and normal life. Despite the loss of one eye, she plays sports and loves to ride her bike.

Olivia’s charming personality inspires people around her to support Riley Hospital. She shares her story with her mother at various events and has created art to be auctioned for Riley Children’s Foundation. She’s a powerful advocate for the hospital that is still working to save her young life.