During pregnancy, Benjamin’s parents learned that their unborn baby had Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus, which meant he would be born with an opening in his spinal cord and extra fluid on his brain. Immediately after his birth, Benjamin was transported to Riley where Dr. Joel Boaz closed the spinal cord opening and repaired the damage to his spine. He spent five days on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and then another four weeks on a step down unit. Benjamin’s family celebrated Thanksgiving and the weeks leading up to his very first Christmas in the hospital. He received many items from Riley Cheer guild during his hospitalization that helped to make his stay more comfortable for him and his older brother. Their favorite item was a blanket made by a Riley Cheer Guild member and volunteer. The blanket had extra special meaning because it was made by Benjamin’s Grandma Karen! The volunteers in the Riley Toy Room knew which blankets Karen had made and donated to them, and they found one of hers to deliver to his room!
All patients at Riley receive a puppy pillow in their bed during recovery from a surgery. Benjamin’s bed at home is filled with puppy pillows from his multiple surgeries. He even shared one with his older brother when they separated into their own rooms in the house after sharing a bedroom for five years.
Benjamin continues to see specialists at Riley in Urology, Rehab, Ortho, Developmental Pediatrics, and Neurosurgery. During these outpatient visits, he enjoys visiting the staff and volunteers within Riley Cheer Guild. He loves to see all of the men and women that he has grown up around and especially enjoys getting a treat from the gift shop, which is managed by Riley Cheer Guild. Benjamin’s mom said, “He will have a life long relationship with Riley Hospital for Children, and Riley Cheer Guild has helped to create a homelike environment filled with love, safety, family, and friends.”