Little Girl with a BIG Heart

 Riley, (left) Jake and Jayden Greenfield

Nine-year-old Riley Greenfield remembers being a patient at NorthShore Evanston Hospital twice: once while getting her tonsils out and a second time while mending a broken ankle. She remembers being an inpatient as “boring and scary.”

When her grandmother, Susan (“Susie”) Barney, passed away, Riley told her parents she wanted to do something to carry on her grandmother’s charity. The Susan Barney Atrium Café at NorthShore Glenbrook Hospital was named in her honor in 2012.

The family learned there was a need for new toys, books and games in the Pediatrics unit at NorthShore Evanston Hospital so Riley and her parents, Eric and Pam, sent an email to family and friends asking for monetary donations or new toys to help distract and engage children who were hospitalized in the unit. “We emailed everyone we knew,” said Riley.

“We put a box outside our front door so people could drop off toys and books,” recalled Riley. The family also received cash and checks and then sought out a list of needed items, which was provided by NorthShore’s Child Life Services Coordinator Beth Lucas.

The week before Halloween, the family loaded up their SUV and dropped off hundreds of dollars' worth of infant toys, books, arts and crafts supplies, crayons, puzzles and miscellaneous items to help make a child’s hospital stay less intimidating or frightening.

“Having these donations makes our job here at the hospital so much easier,” said Lucas. "After painful invasive tests and procedures, it's so helpful to provide these items, which quickly bring smiles to the faces of our patients.” Child Life Services constantly needs to restock its offerings to children, from birth to age 21, in the 20-bed Pediatrics unit, she added.

To learn more about how you can help build awareness and raise funds, please contact Walt Cody at 224.364.7204 or via email at wcody@northshore.org. An online donation can be made at foundation.northshore.org/childlifeservices.

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