Riley, an outgoing, social teen inspires a playwright

March 19, 2015   Tributes

Faces of Spina Bifida Magazine | Source

by Rachel Allen
Johnstown, Pennsylvania, United States

My daughter Riley, 14, was the 16th baby to undergo in-utero surgery at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia) in 2000. She was born at 29 weeks and has always shown a tenacity and determination. 

Riley is beautiful, bright and in the National Honor Society at her middle school. She loves drawing, reading, writing, scary movies and of course, social media! Riley lives to connect with the friends she met through Firefly Camps and Retreats with the Spina Bifida Association of Western Pennsylvania. These are some of the most important relationships in her life. 

Our family loves travel. We have traveled within the United States and Australia through the Make A Wish Foundation. In 2011, Riley had complete bladder reconstruction with many complications. She endured several months of back-and-forth to the hospital for subsequent procedures. Her story and the way Riley meets obstacles, challenges and fears inspired a local playwright to write a story about a girl born with spina bifida. 

Please read the following for more information about the play as well as links to the website. We would love to see the play produced and staged in other areas to highlight the lives of those with spina bifida.