What Mom Learned at Rev Helps Daughter Walk Again

Because she and her husband are avid racing fans, Amanda Cohoon decided in 2014 to volunteer for Rev Indy, the Indiana University Health Foundation’s signature event, held annually at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Cohoon had no idea how important that decision would be. Contributing her time and talent to Rev led to medical care that helped her daughter walk again after a horrific boating accident in 2016. 

Rev kicks off the month of May at the Speedway, and its proceeds benefit trauma and critical care programs at IU Health. Over the past five years, the event has raised more than $2.5 million. Cohoon’s role as a Rev volunteer has been securing restaurant participants and sponsors and finalizing their contracts. Carol Howard, executive director of Rev, said, “Amanda is the first one to raise her hand and pitch in.”

Exactly the kind of person you want nearby in an emergency, like the emergency that hit the Cohoon family on Labor Day weekend in 2016. Cohoon, her husband and their four children were on their boat when a larger boat zoomed by at a high speed, sending a wake directly toward them. The force of the wave knocked 16-year-old Madison off her feet, onto the boat deck. Madison couldn’t feel her legs. 

Cohoon held Madison still until they reached the dock. With no cell service, she carefully strapped Madison to a wakeboard and drove her to the nearest hospital. The emergency room staff there recommended surgery. 

Because of her experience with Rev, however, Cohoon was certain that IU Health Methodist Hospital was the only place to go for trauma care. Cohoon insisted that Madison be helicoptered there. Cohoon’s instinct was right. The surgeon on call that weekend was the highly regarded Richard B. Rodgers, MD, a neurosurgeon with Goodman Campbell Brain and Spine, who is also an associate professor of clinical neurological surgery at the IU School of Medicine. He placed two steel rods in Madison’s spine. 

Madison Cohoon

Madison spent three weeks in the hospital, and Cohoon knew both she and Madison were in good hands.

“Everyone treated me like I was family,” said Cohoon. “They were such a good support system for us.” Now in high school, Madison has decided that she wants to be a surgeon, and she recently completed a surgical internship in Spain. 

By giving her time and talent to Rev, Cohoon has made a difference in the lives of critical care patients all over Indiana. Little did she know how much her actions would give back to her own family. 

Tickets for Rev 2019 go on sale Dec. 1, and the event (on May 4, 2019) is usually a sellout.