Making the ‘impossible’ like Lexi possible a Riley Hospital mission

Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Eleven-year-old Lexi Fuchs of Roachdale joins Riley Hospital for Children and Kroger officials in accepting a $24,614 check from the Illiana Watermelon Association during the recent Greencastle Kroger store grand reopening celebration. Also participating in the check presentation are (from left) Kroger District Manager Lanny Goad, Kroger public relations spokesman Eric Halvorson, Greencastle Kroger Manager Ralph Akers and Kevin Kotansky representing the Race for Riley Campaign.
Banner Graphic/ERIC BERNSEE

Every day at Riley Hospital, a child reaches a milestone that at one time seemed impossible.

Eleven years, four open-heart surgeries and one pacemaker after Lexanne Fuchs of Roachdale, was born with a life-threatening heart defect, she found herself living at Riley Hospital for Children in desperate need of a transplant.

Lexi received her transplant on Feb. 25, 2015, just two months after she was put on the transplant list.

She had a smooth recovery and returned home weeks later. She’s since embraced the new energy that’s come with her new heart, joining her school’s swim team — an impossibility before her transplant — and is active on the student council, the school newspaper, in 4-H and at her church.

Earlier this year Lexi was named a 2017 Riley Champion by Riley Children’s Foundation, one of eight such Indiana Riley Champions.

The Riley Champions program is presented by Kroger and honors patients from Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health who have inspired communities with their bravery and commitment to help others despite overcoming medical challenges. The children become advocates for Riley by sharing their stories and participating in special events throughout the year.

For Lexi, one of those events was the recent grand reopening of the Greencastle Kroger store earlier this month. Accompanied to the Dec. 2 event by her mother, Rexanne Fuchs, Lexi helped receive a $24,614 check on behalf of the Riley Foundation from Kroger and the Illiana Watermelon Association.

Kevin Kotansky, the Race for Riley Campaign chairman who helped Lexi accept the lottery-sized check at the Greencastle Kroger celebration, was inspired by the 11-year-old’s appearance.

“I’m standing here next to a miracle child,” Kotansky commented.

“If children like Lexi can overcome seemingly impossible odds, we can too,” Riley officials said, “but only with help from partners who share our vision and mission.”

With The Gift of Hope Happens Here holiday season campaign under way, Riley Children’s Foundation expressed gratitude for partners like Fifth Third Bank and Indiana Blood Center who generously fuel the programs that matter most at Riley Hospital. Because Riley Hospital for Children has such a profound impact on children and families in all 92 Indiana counties and beyond, it makes sense for organizations like theirs to partner with Riley Hospital.

Donors’ financial gifts give Riley families hope through access to world-class physicians and staff, cutting-edge research trials and family-centered support services.

Every day Riley researchers make breakthroughs that nobody could have believed a few decades ago: Using fragments of DNA to repair damaged heart tissue; developing ways to test for diabetes before it starts; creating new drugs to attack cancer tumors with fewer toxic side effects. Hoosiers’ gifts can help fuel even more life-saving discoveries.

A gift can also help Riley improve Indiana’s disturbing infant mortality rate. It’s a task that may seem insurmountable given that our state has the nation’s 10th-highest rate of babies who die before their first birthday. With community support, Riley is revolutionizing care for Indiana’s mothers and babies by recruiting a much-needed team of maternal-fetal medicine specialists, and building a system to spread their Riley expertise across the state.

Hoosiers can make a difference for children and #GiveHope to Riley kids and their families at Your gifts make the “impossible” possible, Kevin O’Keefe, president and CEO of Riley Children’s Foundation, said.

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  • Congratulations to Lexi! I have known her parents since before she was born. They have been through a lot of emotional moments during many trips to Riley. They are outstanding individuals. It is no wonder Lexi is such an inspiration to others. She always has a smile on her face and a determination in her heart!

    Rodger Winger

    -- Posted by rawinger on Thu, Dec 29, 2016, at 11:00 AM
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