Periodically, Riley’s Army will post stories from a grateful family, or highlight one of our many volunteers.
Check back regularly to see where our spotlight shines!
Our Fall Semester Intern- Abby Wojciechowski- Why I chose Riley’s Army: Growing up in Greenville, I had always heard of the amazing things Riley’s Army did for their families. The events excited me and Riley’s Army’s mission inspired me. However, the deciding factor that made me choose Riley’s Army was the community. After meeting some of the families and volunteers, I knew I was meant to work with Riley’s Army. It felt like I had always known these people and was welcomed with open arms. It is a home away from home for so many people and a reminder that no one is truly alone.
Our summer intern, Precious Barnes- Why did you choose Riley’s Army for an internship opportunity? I choose Riley’s Army because of their engagement with their families and community. While searching for an internship I wanted to work with an organization who had experience and knowledge in event planning, community relations, and fundraising. Riley’s Army ensured that I would be able to get hands-on experience with varies of tasks that a PR person would carry out. I will be able to not only apply my skills but enhance them. Also, I would be giving back to an organization that supported my family, during my brother’s time of treatment, by using my knowledge of PR and other skills.
Hardeep Kainth, over the past 4 years during his residency here, has donated all proceeds from his organized Futsol games to Riley’s Army. He graduated June 16th 2018 & even though he will be moving out of state, he has found a way to let these games & donations continue. Kelly Philpot wrote a speech to be read at his graduation.
“So many times in life we are blessed with a platform and we are given opportunities to help others yet so often we overlook the opportunity or we ignore it because it would be too much work. I find it inspiring that Hardeep used his passion for soccer during a very busy time in his life in medical school to help others.
I am amazed when young adults look past themselves to help others when there is no personal need to be involved. I hope Hardeep’s desire to help Riley’s Army and the actions he took to support pediatric cancer patients in eastern NC does fill him with richness knowing he has made a big difference in the lives of many children and their families during their cancer journey.”
Riley’s Army is very thankful for Hardeep’s support throughout his medical school career and we as Riley’s Army wish him great love and success in his future. 🎗
Volunteer Of the Year 2017- Kassie Balestrieri
Horizon Award 2017- Erin Stuart
Presidential Award 2017- Jeff Connors
Why did I choose Riley’s Army as my summer internship? I love what Riley’s army is about and I love their role in the community. I wanted to work with an organization where I had hands on experience with making an impact in people’s lives. I wanted to be able to see how my work was successful and how it was contributing to a greater good. Riley’s army is much more than an army, they are a family. The people of this organization are some of the most genuine and sweet people I have ever met. As a nursing major at East Carolina I wanted experience with the support side of patient care rather than just the medical side. Now that I am a cleared hospital volunteer I hope to remain member of this army and to continue helping the families! Riley’s army has left an impact on me that words cannot describe and I am so happy I got to spend my summer with them!
I love to intern for Riley’s Army because it gives me the opportunity to help children and families in a unique way. I am looking forward to being able to make connections with these families and give them the support they need. Being able to be a part of this family and this support system is truly an amazing opportunity and experience.
Why did I volunteer? I fell in love with an adorable, little boy who had an infectious smile. His name was Kayne. He was born premature and had a rough start from the first day of life. I started following Kayne and his story, in February of 2013. He had been diagnosed in October 2012 with metastatic angiosarcoma. I loved seeing that infectious smile, everytime I logged onto his site. I fell in love with not only him but his whole family. Kayne also had a twin brother named Ashton. My daughter and I sent him a Christmas Card and we got one back with a bracelet. I wore that bracelet till it broke. On the morning of February 11, 2014, my heart broke. Kayne had gained his angel wings. That day was the day I contacted Mike Roberson, asking what I needed to do, to help volunteer with Riley’s Army. He gave me the contact information to Kimber and they have yet to get rid of me, 2yrs later. I have always said that there is something for everyone in RA. I chose to do the network coordinator side. I knew, with a daughter of my own, my heart wouldn’t be strong enough to be in the hospital with our families and children. I knew I wanted to help set events up and see our families and children when they could be happy, free, go lucky warriors. I love my whole entire RA family and I owe it all to that amazing, infectious smile, named Kayne!
Why do I volunteer? I volunteer because I love what Riley’s Army does for the children and families they support. I truly believe that no one family should ever go at battling cancer alone, and RA is one of the best support systems I have ever seen, and have had the phenomenal opportunity to be a part of.
After learning of Riley’s Army and their mission to provide support to children and their families going through the most difficult time of their lives, I couldn’t imagine completing my internship with any other site. My passion for working with children and helping others came at a very early age. In addition to that studying child life and early intervention only furthered my desire to provide care to children. This opportunity provides me with a chance to learn how to best serve this population and how others can help as well. I look forward to working with Riley’s Army to give support to these warriors through planing and organizing events and fundraisers, delivering meals at the hospital and getting to know the families. In the short time I have been with Riley’s Army, I have already witnessed the good and happiness that comes from what this organization works so hard to accomplish. Because of this I cannot be more proud to be a part of this army and that I was lucky enough to have been chosen as their intern for this semester.
I chose to volunteer with Riley’s Army because I was in search of volunteer work with children in a hospital setting as I prepare for graduate school. After learning more about Riley’s Army my wish to become involved increased because this is a great way to give back to others in need, and I love that this is a local organization. I have seen an overwhelming amount of hard work, dedication and passion continuously flow into this group in the short time that I have been involved and it only fuels my desire to do more. From all I have seen and heard, I believe interning with Riley’s Army will be a wonderful way to give back to our community and raise awareness for pediatric cancer.
My relationship with Riley’s Army began a few years ago through a service-learning course. Through my experience, I had the opportunity to advocate for pediatric cancer awareness, assist in the organization of fundraisers, and take part as a volunteer for events. Although I contributed hours of service to Riley’s Army, I felt as if I only just grazed the surface. This prompted my desire to further indulge myself in this wonderful organization, serving children and their families. As the new intern, I am extremely eager to begin making connections and building relationships with these families. I hope that through my actions and experiences, I will have the ability to become an advocate, supporter, fundraiser, provider, helper, and most of all a friend in the pediatric cancer community. I cannot wait to immerse myself further into the heart of this organization as I become part of the family, part of the army.
A few weeks ago, I was with my (9) year old granddaughter when I received a call from one of our families and this Mom was hysterical. She explained to me that a fungal infection had spread to many of her son’s organs and the doctors didn’t give him much hope. Of course I cried along with her and I was extremely upset.
A few weeks later my granddaughter asked “Mema, why do you do a job that makes you cry?” I was caught off guard and didn’t really know how to answer this child and I have thought about it a lot since that day. I volunteer because God has called me to minister to these children and their families and He has filled my heart with the desire and compassion to serve others. I volunteer because there is nothing sweeter than the love of child, the smile when they see me walk in, the joy of knowing that I have brightened someone’s day and maybe, just maybe, made their burden just a little easier if even for a brief period of time.
She is a board member and a newly retired teacher who taught our children when they were in the hospital. Why does she volunteer for Riley’s Army?
I had the great honor of being able to teach Riley while she was in the hospital. What a remarkable young lady she was. I still remember the timeline of her life she did for an assignment. She only put happy points on her timeline. What a way to view life! And what a legacy she has left! I have seen firsthand all the good things that RA does for children and their families.
I volunteer because of that little 10 year old girl who in her short life, changed, brightened and bettered her corner of the world (which so happened to live 5 doors away from mine.) I volunteer for the families whose strenght I am in awe of, and the joy I see in the kids eyes amidst everything they are going through. I volunteer for the close-knit group of volunteers, pizza delivery group, and others involved in RA who I love and look up to so much. I want to do this for the rest of my life and only hope I can.
Thank you Riley’s Army for all you do. I really mean that. Those families need you and those children don’t need a stressed out mom and dad while they’re in the biggest battle of their lives. A heartfelt thanks to you all,
When I began working with Riley’s Army in the summer of 2012, I had no idea that our relationship would grow to be as strong as it is today. While I was expecting to receive class credit for completing the internship, I did not expect to gain relationships with the Hematology-Oncology staff of Vidant Medical Center, with the families in which Riley’s Army serves, or with the amazing volunteers that make this organization possible. But, from these evolving relationships, I now see a permanent place for myself here with Riley’s Army. As I begin my journey to become a physician at Brody Medical School, I vow to continue my work with the pediatric cancer community of Eastern North Carolina, because I have seen firsthand all the good that comes from what we do as a team. “You can’t do it alone. You need an army!”
As I sat with Riley in her hospital room one morning, so Kelly and Kirk could go to work, I wondered how I would feel if Riley was my daughter. It was like I could feel the pain of every parent that passed by Riley’s room that day. When I left the hospital, I knew I had to do something to help them and all the others that would pass through those dreadful Pediatric Hematology-Oncology doors. Riley’s Army has given me many opportunities to do just that.