New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 7

New IU Health Methodist Hospital nurse Rachel Ketelaar tackles 12-hour shifts and the PCU.


  • My first week working three full 12-hour shifts straight. I am going to find out: Will I enjoy having four days off in a row? Or will working three 12-hour days in a row be too mentally and physically exhausting?
  • Today I worked with a nurse who’s been here for many years. She was so thorough in her work! She taught me about the floor’s quality improvement projects, including reducing catheter urinary tract infections, central line infections and patient falls, and increasing the use of spirometers to aid in breathing. She also shared a lot of the reasoning behind what we do as nurses, like making sure everything you do gets charted. I appreciated the insights of this veteran nurse.


  • My first week in the PCU side of my unit, where patients are sicker. Instead of having 4-5 patients to care for, I had three. These patients require more assessments, vital signs checking, dressing changes and typically more medication. The PCU is not as scary as I thought. But on the other hand, with more dressing changes and alarms and equipment, I have a lot more to learn!
  • I definitely feel I am becoming more independent in my work. Which means my mind is constantly running — thinking about what I could have missed, what I need to do next, and how I can be more efficient in my work. It was much easier to rely on Ty telling me what to do next!
With my preceptor, Ty, who’s teaching me the ropes. (She’s garbed up to care for a patient in isolation.)


  • We have some patients on our unit who stay for months and months. Today, Ty and I and another nurse took 3 of these patients outside for 30 minutes. This was a huge task! These patients cannot get out of bed on their own and need lots of help to go outside in wheelchairs, along with monitors and IV poles. It was definitely worth it, though. The fresh air and sunshine were so good for these patients who’ve been cooped up inside.
  • What’s my verdict on working three days straight? I think I’d prefer to avoid it. By the end of day 2, I was completely wiped and went to bed at 9 p.m. so I could get 9 hours of sleep before my last day. But at least I have lots of time to visit my family in Chicago this weekend. It will be a great break to relax and see my parents and siblings.

Read more:

New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 1
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 2
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 3
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 4
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 5
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 6
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 7

Apply Yourself – Being a nurse at Indiana University Health means building a professional nursing career designed by you, with competitive benefits and a culture that embraces your unique strengths and supports your personal and professional goals. If you are seeking an organization where you can engage professionally, develop clinical expertise, embrace learning, foster new relationships and fuel your spirit of inquiry, apply today.

Since her diagnosis: She’s an encourager, an advocate, and a free spirit

When she learned about an opportunity to meet the pandas in China, Valerie Frazier didn’t waste time making a decision. She’s like that now that she has been diagnosed with cancer.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

In a matter of a few short months Valerie Frazier lost her father and mother and was diagnosed with low-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL).

It showed her exactly what she’d always heard: “Life can change in a minute.”

A resident of Martinsville, Frazier married her husband Jeff in 1993. They have two adult daughters and two granddaughters. In January of 2008 after suffering abdominal pain and swollen glands she went to the doctor. A colonoscopy followed and revealed she has NHL. In March her father passed of complications from metastatic adenocarcinoma, and the day after her birthday in August, her mother passed of what Frazier says was a “broken heart.”

Her mother had spent time caring for her father and had missed signs of her own poor health.

From 2008-2018 Frazier went through the watchful waiting period that can typically be from 10 to 20 years for patients with NHL. For a slow-growing lymphoma some patients spend time under their doctor’s surveillance with additional testing completed to determine the best course of treatment.

“Since they actually traced my symptoms back to my 20s when it was diagnosed as something else, the waiting period was short,” said Frazier. Within three years the symptoms became more evident. At the time she was in the care of another hospital and was treated three times with chemotherapy.

When she met IU Health hematologist/oncologist Dr. Jose Azar, Frazier said everything about her diagnosis and treatment changed. It was during a public speaking engagement that she met Dr. Azar and watched him interact with patients in his audience.

“I was anxious to hear what he had to say because he specializes in slow growing lymphoma. After hearing him talk I told him a two-second snippet of my story and he looked into my eyes and said ‘we don’t know what will happen to you. You shouldn’t have been diagnosed in your late 20s because most people are diagnosed in their 60s.’” His honesty with Frazier was exactly what she needed to hear.

“I wasn’t looking for guarantees but someone to be honest. We don’t know what my future holds. The way he took the time to talk to every person who had a question confirmed everything I had heard about him. He truly treats each patient like an individual,” said Frazier.

In July she became Dr. Azar’s patient.

“He looked at all my past scans and was ready to put a plan in place. He wanted to know right away – ‘is their something we should do differently,’’’ said Frazier.

It was a welcome relief for her and also a lot to take in.

It was 2008 when she first got her diagnosis. In 2011, a second colonoscopy confirmed her disease had progressed. The following year she had four weeks of antibody therapy. By the end of the treatments she still wasn’t feeling much better. In 2013 she started chemotherapy – six treatments once a month.

“This was incredibly hard on my body. I only ended up having 5 – I was unable to take the 6th treatment,” said Frazier. “My doctor at the time decided it was doing more harm than good and was satisfied with the progress I had made.” In November of 2013 she began to pick up numerous infections. She learned her white blood count continued to drop and she was unable to fight off infections. She began giving herself injections to boost her immune system but still landed in the hospital. A bone marrow biopsy followed to determine why her body wasn’t producing white blood cells.

“I had three bags of antibiotics running 24/7 and more Neupogen shots. We made up a superhero called ‘Neutropenia Girl’ and I even had a cape,” said Frazier. Neupogen is a drug used to stimulate the growth of white blood cells. By 2014 she began feeling better and was on a maintenance chemo. She finished her last treatment in August and had an opportunity to travel to China to volunteer caring for pandas.

“I love pandas and when I learned of the opportunity I told my husband, ‘I’m not going to wait until one day. That day is now,’” said Frazier. So she traveled more than 7,000 miles and spent two weeks loving on pandas.

“That was a springboard for me. I knew it was now or never and I began to embrace every day, every opportunity,” said Frazier. She became a Zumba instructor, hiked the Appalachian Trail, attended a hippie festival, and began counting down marathons – she’s participated in 16.

She experienced her first chemo-free year in 2017 and is considered in remission. As a member of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society advisory board Frazier spends time advocating for other patients – helping them find the resources they need. She is also active with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life Leadership Team and Voices of Hope.

She also speaks out about her own experiences.

“My personal mantra is ‘the only thing worse than cancer is regret,’” said Frazier.

“I try to be an example of how you can live with cancer, and I mean truly live,” said Frazier. “Do the things you want to do because tomorrow is never guaranteed.”

BE FAST to spot a stroke

Recognizing a stroke is the first step toward stopping it.

This fall, the IU Health adult academic health center stroke team expanded their stroke recognition methodology to incorporate dizziness and visual changes in the screening process.


For years, the widely-known acronym, FAST, had been used to recognize that a stroke is occurring. FAST stands for:

F – Facial weakness, such as an uneven smile or weakness on one side

A – Arm weakness, such as the inability to raise both arms evenly

S – Impaired speech, such as slurring or difficulty repeating simple phrases

T – Time is key. Call 911 immediately.


The Adult AHC team has recently embraced the BE FAST methodology to quickly identify early warning signs of a stroke, adding the following:

B – Balance, sudden dizziness, loss of coordination

E – Sudden trouble seeing out of one or both eyes

Sudden onset of dizziness, loss of balance or onset of visual changes can be important signs of a stroke that are often missed by members of the general public and healthcare community. Changing to this acronym will help increase awareness of the varied stroke symptoms and aligns with the national best practices for stroke education.

Couple who lost newborn find peace in helping others

The emotional pain outweighed the physical pain. It was a torment that in some ways would last a lifetime and Rhett and Molly Morehouse are using that memory to help others who have tragically lost their newborns.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

The living room is filled with joy. A toddler dressed as Minnie Mouse is singing into a karaoke machine and her two older brothers are taking turns climbing in and out of a cardboard box that has been converted into a fort.

There’s little sense that sadness once blanketed this home. That same little girl dressed as Minnie Mouse holds tight to a tiny teddy bear with the name “Ellie” on the front. And on the Christmas tree hangs an ornament with angel wings and the same name, “Ellie.”

But there was a time last year – just two months before Christmas – when the mood was bleak as a cold winter night.

Molly Morehouse describes Oct. 31, 2018 as “spending the night in a funeral home.” She and her husband Rhett found out the day before that the baby she was carrying had no heart beat. They made the painstaking decision for Molly to be induced and deliver the 20-week-old baby girl they named Ellie. It was Molly’s second miscarriage. Her first was when she was about seven weeks pregnant.

“Ellie started off as twins but we found out at our first appointment that the other baby didn’t grow much past the first month of conception. We had a 10-week genetic testing with Ellie and everything seemed fine. We don’t really know what happened,” said Morehouse, 29.

The average risk of miscarriage for a woman under the age of 35 is 15 percent. Approximately 80 percent of miscarriages occur in the first trimester. The rate of miscarriage between 14-20 weeks is less than one percent. By week 20, the miscarriage is considered a stillbirth. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States.

By that 20th week of her pregnancy, Molly and Rhett Morehouse were full of anticipation of the birth of their fourth child. Their oldest son Liam is six, second son Bence is four and daughter Livie is two.

“Ellie was the first one we were trying for. The others just happened,” said Rhett, a worship pastor at Indian Creek Church. Molly is the owner of a children’s apparel shop “Made by Molly.”

The couple grew up in Lafayette and attended the same high school five years apart. Over time they became friends and eventually began dating. They were married seven years ago.

“We’ve moved six times but we’ve had all of our babies at IU Health West,” said Molly. “We know everyone and we feel comfortable there.” It was at IU Health West, where she delivered Ellie. It was at IU Health West Family Maternity Center where a nurse named Ellie Price comforted them. She gave them her number after they were discharged and they have remained in contact throughout the past year.

There are no words to describe their grief, but the couple has focused on the “little things” that have made a difference in their lives since Ellie’s birth.

“I’ve done a lot of hospital visits ranging from people having surgery to those passing,” said Rhett. “The biggest thing you can do is be in the season – there are joyous moments and there are moments to grieve. You can’t ignore those moments or brush them off. The thing that was weird for us is we were coming from the other side – having three healthy kids and knowing God is always going to be faithful, but living in a broken world there will always be pain and you have to go through that winter knowing that spring will come.”

Through that season, the couple learned that there is no timeline for grief. They also learned about honoring their daughter’s death. As they began to encounter other parents who lost their babies, they learned of a way to give those families a special gift of time with their loved one. Through a ministry called, “He Knows Your Name” the couple discovered the “Cuddle Cot” – a cooling method that allows the hospital to keep a baby with the family for a period of time during the mother’s stay.

Molly reached out to her 30,000 followers of her business social media account and in one day raised $4,000 to purchase a Cuddle Cot to donate to IU Health West. The cost of the cot was $3,000 and the couple donated $1,000 to another out-of-state family who was raising funds for a Cuddle Cot. The tiny blue box gives grieving families a chance to hold, rock, and sing to their baby and share the newborn with other family members.

“There was a time when the norm was to deliver the baby and go home. There wasn’t much time to grieve in the hospital. That is changing,” said Molly.

The couple dedicated the cot three months after Ellie was born. As they prepared to go to the hospital dedication on January 4th, Molly took a pregnancy test. They attended the dedication knowing that they were again expecting.

In September they were back at IU Health West where Molly delivered a healthy little girl they named Hallie. Once again their nurse, Ellie Price was with them.

On what would have been Ellie’s due date, March 24, the family released balloons with special messages. She will always be part of their lives. Molly keeps a box filled with a tiny handkerchief-size cloth that swaddled the baby, some books, and other keepsakes. She wears a necklace with the names of all five of her children and then there’s that ornament on the tree with the name – “Ellie.”

“She’s our angel and will always be part of us,” said Molly. “We understand better the brokenness of others through Ellie,” added her husband.

New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 6

During her sixth week, new IU Health Methodist Hospital nurse Rachel Ketelaar is handed more responsibility caring for patients.


  • First day of the week and I had some tough patients. I took the tactic of “killing them with kindness” and listened to them even if it was just complaints about their care. I found that a lot of times patients just want some attention or want to be heard and feel like they are cared for. Medically, I’m not sure I did much for some of them, but emotionally, I made sure they felt important.
  • The nurses on A2N care for 4-5 patients when on the med-surge side of the floor and 3 patients when on the PCU side.


  • Well, I’m learning that nursing can be a taxing profession on your body. Not only does 12 hours on my feet tire out my legs and back by the end of the day, but lifting and rolling and moving patients in or out of bed can be a lot of work. Nurses are like athletes! The nurses on my unit tell me a pulled back or leg muscle is not uncommon. On the advice of other nurses, I have started wearing compression socks and they really help.


  • More simulations today. We worked through two scenarios. In the first, the patient and patient’s family member were actors. The patient’s surgery got pushed back and he was experiencing alcohol withdrawal and hunger from not eating. The patient’s brother was concerned about this and getting loud and aggressive with the nurses. In this case, the nurses had to de-escalate the situation, explain the plan of care, and make sure everyone stayed calm and safe. In the other simulation, a mannequin had a heart attack and we had to do CPR, get the crash cart, and call a code on her. After these simulations, we would debrief and discuss how the simulation could have gone better or what we would have done differently. I’m amazed how realistic these simulations are!
  • I can’t believe my sixth week is ending. I feel that so far, my favorite part of being a registered nurse is getting to know the patients. They make the job so worth it. I absolutely love sitting in the patients’ rooms and hearing the patients’ stories and backgrounds. It really helps me to better understand their situations and become a better nurse.
Being on my feet for 12-hour shifts takes getting used to. I enjoy the little breaks that I find while spending time with patients!

Read more:

New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 1
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 2
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 3
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 4
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 5
New Nurse: Rachel’s Story – Week 6

Apply Yourself – Being a nurse at Indiana University Health means building a professional nursing career designed by you, with competitive benefits and a culture that embraces your unique strengths and supports your personal and professional goals. If you are seeking an organization where you can engage professionally, develop clinical expertise, embrace learning, foster new relationships and fuel your spirit of inquiry, apply today.

Offering hope, spreading cheer during the holidays

Sometimes it just takes a smile to brighten the holidays. L. Vern Farnum Director of Spiritual Care & Chaplaincy for IU Health talks about the importance of caring for others this time of year.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

One family unloads a car filled with toys at IU Health Riley Hospital for Children. Their son once spent Christmas in the hospital. Across campus, in the bone marrow unit of University Hospital, giant stockings are hung and miniature pink Christmas trees are displayed. And at Methodist Hospital, a little elf is busy hanging bright lights in a waiting area.

“I know what it’s like to be in the hospital during the holidays. It’s good to help others by spreading a little cheer,” said Terri Miller, an Ohio resident who received two kidney transplants at IU Health University Hospital – first in November of 2001 and then in November 2017. She recently returned to the hospital to pass out candy canes and stockings to patients and her caregivers – including nurse Christine Gibson, nurse practitioner Lee Ann Jones, nephrologist Dr. Dennis Mishler, and transplant surgeon Dr. William Goggins.

“A smile or a small gift can go a long way during what can be a dark time,” said a mom of a Riley patient, who recently delivered toys to the hospital.

Passersby had broad smiles as Case Manager Theresa Osmulski, Rachel Alvey, and Melissa Mahoney with IU School of Medicine laughed about Alvey’s festive reindeer ears. The grins were what they hoped for.

The focus of the holidays is about helping patients, caregivers, and loved ones, find ways to celebrate the season – given the reality of the reason they are in the hospital, said L. Vern Farnum, director of spiritual care and chaplaincy. “We encourage patients to find something that gives them peace, joy and a sense of meaning. Often that means celebrating the love of family,” said Farnum. With the help of technology, patients who travel from distant states and even other countries are able to connect with their loved ones.

“We had one patient who contracted a mysterious illness and ended up in the hospital on Christmas day. All he wanted to do was see his black lab. We allowed the family to bring the dog in and it was awesome seeing the patient’s face light up,” said Farnum, who typically works on Christmas Day. “It’s rare to hear nurses grumble when they work the holidays. They see this as their calling. Patients are sick and they’re here to care for them. More often than not, I see them bring in special treats to share.”

There are other touches too that help lift spirits – ornaments hanging from IV poles, framed photos in patients’ rooms and mini trees, menorahs and kinaras.

“It’s a time when almost all faiths have celebrations that involve light. Each tradition happens in its own way but we encourage that symbolism to be shared,” said Farnum. For safety purposes electric or battery candles replace actual flames. “And there’s always an abundance of food. In some ways it becomes a time of fellowship for families and caregivers,” said Farnum.

As the chaplain team began planning and preparing for the holidays, one offered the following insight: “We need to realize that while this is Hallmark movie season, we should not buy into the Hallmark fantasy. Sometimes it’s a sad and imperfect time and we’re here to help patients and families get through that in the best possible way we can.”

Sixth treatment = A technical knock out

When Carla Laster went into the ring to fight ovarian cancer, she made up her mind it was going to be a Total Knock Out.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

She wore a big smile on her face and a pair of pink boxing gloves on her hands. Carla Laster had just finished her last round of chemotherapy for ovarian cancer. And she felt like she’d won the fight.

“My husband said when we started this that the sixth treatment was going to be a technical knock out (TKO) and that’s what we made it,” said Laster, who works as an assistant coordinator in championships for the NCAA. So for her last treatment she fulfilled the challenge – wearing a pair of boxing gloves when she finished her chemotherapy at IU Health Simon Cancer Center. A TKO is called when a referee counts to 10 over a fallen boxer. The fight is over.

Laster has been married to her husband Robert for 22 years. Their blended family includes seven adult children, and 10 grandchildren.

“That’s my thing, that’s what I had to fight for. I love my family,” said Laster. On June 24 she was admitted to the hospital for surgery to remove a 22-centimeter growth in her pelvis. During surgery cancer was discovered on her left ovary. In addition to removing the mass, and lymph nodes, doctors also removed her appendix that showed signs of discoloration and deformity. She started chemotherapy on August 22. She is under the care of IU Health obstetrics and gynecologist Dr. Sharon Robinson.

“It’s odd how things change so quickly. Last year I made chemo care gift bags for patients being treated for breast cancer. This year, when I learned I had ovarian cancer, I made gift bags for Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month,” said Laster, 53.

Walking away from IU Health Simon Cancer Center was a relief for Laster and also offered some hope.

“I’m looking forward to spending the holidays with my family,” she said. “Before I was diagnosed we booked a cruise for 14 people. I’m ready to go and enjoy every minute.”

IU Health Implements Temporary Visitor Restrictions to Help Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Viruses

Due to a rise in the number of reported cases of flu and other respiratory viruses, IU Health is limiting visitors at some of its healthcare facilities to prevent further spreading protect patients and staff.

Facility and Start Date

  • IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital – Dec. 13
  • IU Health Methodist Hospital – Dec. 20
  • IU Health North Hospital – Dec. 20
  • IU Health Saxony Hospital – Dec. 20
  • IU Health University Hospital – Dec. 20
  • Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health – Dec. 20

Visitor restrictions* include:

  • Only spouses, significant others, parents or legal guardians (18 or older) will be allowed to visit and be on the patient unit (exceptions can be made for end-of-life-situations).
  • Siblings and children younger than 18 years will not be permitted on patient units.
  • Patients with flu-like symptoms will be asked to wear a surgical or isolation mask.
  • Patients will not go off their unit, except for testing or therapy; at Riley in Indianapolis, evening visits for inpatients may be arranged in the Child Life Zone.
  • Visitors who have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, cough, chills or muscle aches, will not be allowed to visit patients.
  • Visitors and parents should wash their hands or use hand sanitizer before entering the building.

*IU Health recognizes the role that family plays in a patient’s recovery. Exceptions to the policy may be made under special circumstances.

Third kidney transplant for three patients, One unites five family members

It was the day before Thanksgiving and David Raasch had a lot to be thankful for – he was receiving his third kidney transplant from a family member. It turns out he wasn’t alone.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

It was a recent weekday when IU Health transplant surgeon Dr. William Goggins was making his rounds at University Hospital. He stopped by the outpatient clinic to see one of his patients David Raasch, 31. During an hours-long surgery, the day before Thanksgiving Raasch received his third kidney transplant under the care of Dr. Goggins.

“Usually third kidney transplants are unusual,” said Dr. Goggins. “But in the past five days I’ve had three patients who have received their third transplant.”

Raasch was born to Gary and Kathryn Raasch on May 19, 1988. He was delivered by Cesarean birth at 33 weeks, and arrived one minute after his twin brother, Taylor – at 10:06 a.m. It was the first delivery for Kathryn Raasch. The couple didn’t know they were having twins until she was in her sixth month of pregnancy.

Shortly after he arrived, David was whisked off to IU Health Riley Hospital for Children and was diagnosed with bilateral cortical necrosis – a rare cause of acute renal failure. He started peritoneal dialysis at 12 days old. Thirteen surgeries followed and at the age of 17 months, Raasch received his first transplant under the care of Dr. Mark Peskovitz who was tragically killed in a car accident in December of 2010.

David’s first donor was his dad and Gary Raasch said he will always remember that date Oct. 11, 1989.

“That day is forever etched in my mind,” said Gary Raasch. “His transplant coordinator Mary Lynn Subrin swears he was the youngest and smallest in the state to receive a kidney transplant. She was incredible through this journey.”

That transplant lasted 17 years. David’s parents and his Danville community kept a close watch over him. He avoided preschool when there was an outbreak of the chicken pox or the flu.

“In elementary school he had fabulous teachers who supported him and it was through them that we identified that David has a hearing impairment,” said his mom, who also served as principal of the lower elementary school. Through the Indiana Association of School Principals Kathryn Raasch helped organize school fundraisers for Riley Hospital. David joined the efforts and also participated in the Transplant Olympics as a sixth grader, earning medals in swimming competitions. He later helped with promotions for the National Kidney Foundation and also served as a volunteer for Riley Hospital.

“When the twins were in grade school and they came to the principal’s office to find me, I’d hide behind the counter. I wanted them to have a normal elementary experience,” said his mom.

The twins were close. They grew up participating in youth leagues. David was restricted from contact sports and became a manager for football, baseball and basketball while his brother ran the field and the court.

“There was no pity party for me,” said David. “He had some wonderful coaches and mentors and this was a way for him to be around his peers,” said his mom. “And if someone from the outside stuck their nose in where it didn’t’ belong, Taylor was there,” added his dad. Throughout childhood the boys enjoyed fishing trips to Canada and later David served as the best man at Taylor’s wedding. Taylor and his wife now live in Baltimore and have two children – one named “Henry David” – after Taylor’s twin brother. Through a previous marriage, Gary has an older daughter Laura Davis who is also married with two children.

David’s first transplant lasted 17 years. He remained in the care of nephrologist Dr. Asif Sharfuddin. He graduated from Danville High School in December and on Feb. 7, 2007 under the care of Dr. Goggins, he received his second transplant from his mother. After his recovery, David attended Vincennes University to study mortuary science. Since a very young age, when he helped a neighbor plan a sacred burial of a pet hamster, David had an interest in funeral planning. Ron Randolph emerged as a mentor and hired David to work at Weaver & Randolph Funeral Home in Danville. He also works part time at Crown Hill Cemetery.

“I like serving others,” said David. “I feel like I’m giving back to the community.”

His second kidney remained strong until July 29, 2019 when he went into end stage renal failure and began hemodialysis a month later. As he began preparing for a third donor, both his brother his sister Laura Davis were tested as a match.

David’s parents describe the decision of which sibling would be the transplant donor as a sort of “arm wrestling match.” Both parents and siblings were eager to become his donor. A recent family photo shows all five of them wearing black t-shirts made by Davis. Green lettering identified donor 1 (his dad) and the date, donor 2 (his mom) and the date and donor 3 (his sister) and the date. David’s t-shirt reads: “Kidney thief. I have 5 kidneys but 4 are decoys. His brother’s t-shirt reads: “Donor 4 on deck.” The back of the t-shirts read: “Keeping it all in the family.”

To Davis becoming a living donor was simple. “My brother needed a kidney. In my mind, anyone would do that for a sibling or family member.” She remembers clearly David’s first two transplants and decided early on that if he ever needed a third she would be tested. In a social media post she wrote: “This has been a whirlwind of emotions however, the real hero in this story is David, being dealt the hand of life he was given, going through now his third kidney transplant, multiple other surgeries, periods of dialysis, daily amounts of medications, daily struggles and never giving up.”

As Davis was wheeled into one operating room, David was wheeled into another. He said he felt a calm come over him. “It’s like a second home here and I can’t say enough about Dr. Goggins, and my post transplant coordinator Mary Taber. They’ve been fantastic and make me feel safe and calm,” said David. And as he came out of surgery, his twin brother was there holding his hand and calling him a “hero.”

His entire family – parents, siblings, nieces and nephews waited through the lengthy surgery and offered support.

“It’s like God gave us a front row seat in watching a miracle,” said his father.

Wyatt is winning a war on abuse

After spending his first Christmas at IU Health Riley Hospital for Children, Wyatt Campbell is giving back to other patients – all in the name of survival.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

He’s wearing a “Superman” t-shirt and talking non-stop. He is big fan of the Toy Story 4 character “Forky,” and he loves McDonald’s cheeseburgers with mustard only, and bologna sandwiches.

“He’s been on a Toy Story kick since he was two,” said his mom Amber Smalley. And that’s just fine with her. She’s happy to have her son alive. Wyatt Campbell is a child abuse survivor.

“On Dec. 17, 2013 Wyatt was shaken by someone who was supposed to love and nurture him. He was transported by LifeLine to IU Health Riley Hospital for Children where he coded multiple times,” said his mother. He suffered bilateral subdural hematomas, retinal hemorrhaging in his eyes and seizures. “We were told Wyatt would most likely not make it through the night. When he beat those odds we were told he would most likely be blind and deaf with very little quality of life,” said Amber Smalley. Her mom Carmen Thomas, who works at IU Health Ball Hospital and Thomas’ partner Cliff McKee, supported her through the horrific tragedy.

Wyatt has a twin sister Annabelle and that first Christmas, the four-month-olds spent Christmas at Riley Hospital with their mom.

“The generous donations from other families made a very dark time seem somewhat normal,” said Smalley, who is married to Adam Smalley and has two more children Charlotte, 3 and Audra, 1.

Every year since Wyatt’s recovery, the family has collected toys in celebration of “Wyatt’s Survival Day.” This year they plan to deliver about $1,000 worth of toys to patients at Riley Hospital.

“At first I hated that day and then I decided that we are blessed that he is alive and is thriving so we decided to celebrate,” said Smalley. Wyatt continues with speech and occupational therapy but is an energetic Kindergartener who has become a symbol of strength for his family.

“Wyatt is one of ten grandchildren and he was my first. He was born four minutes before his twin sister Annabelle. I don’t know what we’d do without him,” said Thomas, who collected toys at IU Health Ball Hospital. “He’s such a joy and we feel blessed to celebrate his survival.”