Eldest children are often incredibly protective of their younger siblings. So when one Indiana boy heard what a hospital did for his baby brother, he decided to do something to show his appreciation.
When Karsen Smithey’s baby brother, Cash, was born last year, doctors discovered he had a cleft palate, which needed to be operated on right away. “We didn’t know until [Cash] was born,” mom Katie Smithey said. “We had to go to Riley Hospital when he was 4 days old.”
When Katie and her husband explained what happened to Cash, Karsen was determined to do something to show his appreciation. “I just ran inside and said, ‘Momma, I’m making something for Riley Hospital,’” Karsen said. The then six-year-old decided to raise $300 to donate to the hospital.
With Katie’s help, Karsen began fundraising and about a year later, he managed to exceed his original goal and raised $740. Katie reached out to the hospital’s donations coordinator and explained what Karsen managed to do. “She said, ‘We really want to do something special. We have a giant check we want him to sign and we would love to give him a tour,’” Katie said. “So we were thrilled and she was really excited.”
“I felt really, really happy,” Karsen said. “I’m just super proud of him,” Katie added. “He has a big heart.” On Aug. 7, Karsen and his family went to the hospital and signed the massive check that will go towards the Child Life program at Riley, which helps comfort families through services like diagnosis education, therapeutic play, sibling support and special celebrations.
“We are so grateful for Karsen’s generous donation to Riley Hospital,” the hospital said. “His gift is making an impact on kids and families throughout the hospital. It’s always incredible to see Riley kids and their siblings who are driven to give back to help others in need.”