I was born on the first of July — along with a rattle every time I took a breath.
The doctors told my parents that it was normal for some babies. It should go away in a few days.
As days and weeks went on it got worse, and continued to get louder. The doctors believed I had an issue with my lungs, but all tests came back normal.
Because my “breathing issue” left me more susceptible than a normal baby to cold germs, I was taken to the ER three times before I was four months old. Then, at four months old, I was put into pediatric ICU with pneumonia.
The doctors finally discovered that I had a rare birth defect in my throat that caused my epiglottis to be four times the normal size, and not attached properly (laryngomalacia).
Most cases like that can usually resolve themselves, but mine was more extreme.
A second opinion comes through
My parents were told I would need surgery. At four months old. Worse yet, I needed a surgery that the doctor had never even performed before.
He told my parents I was going to need a tracheostomy, which is a surgically created hole the front of the neck and into the windpipe. They would surgically repair my epiglottis through that opening. There was a risk of damaging my vocal chords. Additionally, I would need to keep the tracheostomy for the next two years.
My parents were eager to search for a second opinion regarding the surgery. They ultimately found themselves at Riley Hospital for Children.
At Riley, my diagnosis was confirmed — but the doctor would be able to do the procedure with laser technology and not require a tracheostomy. Thus, now at just six months old, what could have been a two-year long recovery process ended up being done in one hour at Riley Children’s Hospital.
Finally, I was a quiet breather, much to my parents’ relief.
Unfortunately, since my body had been spending so much of its energy focusing on being able to breath, my motor skills were far behind. I was now at risk of not ever being able to walk. With the help and referrals of the experts at Riley, I was set up with some of the best physical and occupational therapists around to help me out.
And now today I am a healthy sophomore student at Indiana University — thanks in large part to all of the special people at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
I will forever be grateful for the special people that make that place so amazing.
I’m also a fan of The Assembly Call, just like you
I started listening to The Assembly Call a few years ago when I stumbled across an IU postgame show through Twitter. After watching the next hour, I became a huge fan of The Assembly Call, and am still a frequent watcher and follower of their content on Twitter.
Jerod, Ryan, and Andy provide some of the best IU basketball analysis out there, and it has been awesome to see The Assembly Call grow. I have followed the show through almost all of the postgame, halftime, and Wednesday/Thursday night shows. I even listen to Jerod’s joint podcast with Inside the Hall (Podcast on the Brink).
I reached out to Jerod a few weeks ago to gauge his interest in getting the word out about donating to Riley. It has been great working with him to find a way to get the best message out. I want to be able to help tons of kids get the help and care that they need, and the donations are what fuel their long enduring battles.
The Assembly Call brings together thousands of Hoosiers. With their help and yours, Hoosier Nation can make a big impact on Indiana’s own Riley Children’s Hospital!
How to donate to Riley Hospital for Children
I am raising money for Riley Children’s Hospital through the Indiana University Dance Marathon (IUDM).
Indiana is one of the top dance marathons in the whole country. Last year I raised over $600 dollars for Riley, and with your help I would love to crush that number and help even more kids get the treatments they need for happy and healthy lives — treatment like what I received
No donation to Riley is too small. Any amount goes a long way. It all adds up, and every donation is for the kids at Riley.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and I hope that you will be able to help out the kids in need.