Super Baskets, Super Day

I am still in the “shock and awe” phase today after a mind-blowing day yesterday at Bankers Life (Conseco) Fieldhouse. My new job working with Riley Children’s Foundation means I often get to work closely with Riley kids and families, and get involved with meaningful projects that feel incredibly rewarding. But I don’t know if there’s any way to top what happened yesterday.

First, there are the numbers: 7,000 baskets; nearly 1,000 volunteers; hundreds thousands of dollars worth of gifts donated by Indiana businesses – and now those finished baskets are on their way, thanks to UPS, to all 32 NFL cities to be delivered by players and coaches to hospitalized children.

But after talking with some of the Riley kids and families who have received baskets in the past (through the Basket of Hope program which inspired this “Super-sized” version), it occurs to me that these are more than a mountain of baskets. They are 7,000 MOMENTS that are about to happen to real children and families in hospital beds.

Kids just like yours and mine – who happened to be hit out of nowhere with incredibly difficult medical challenges. (“In the eyes of every child who’s hurting, you see your own child,” I can recall a fellow mom and friend, Alissa saying. This has never been more true than now, when I work with hurting children nearly every day.)

Kids like Riley Hospital for Children patients Tatum, Clare, and Olivia in this beautiful picture, who are overcoming the most serious types of health threats, and throwing their energy into helping other kids in similar positions.

Kids whose faces will light up when that NFL player or coach shows up later this week bearing a basket of gifts, and tangible proof that someone out their cares about putting a smile on their face during their time of struggle.

What a way for Indiana to show the rest of the country the kind of stuff we are made of.

What an honor to be a part of it all.

I have already had my Super Bowl 2012 highlight for sure. I hope you enjoy the rest of this Super week!

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