Former patient repays Riley Hospital with books – Washington Times

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) – During the most difficult days of chemotherapy, radiation and surgeries to treat cancer, something as small as a picture book or a new novel can put a smile on a child’s face.

Amber Bullock remembers. She knows how exciting it was when the book cart came around the cancer ward at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.

When she was diagnosed with a rare cancer as an infant, she became a regular patient at the hospital. Her mother would read to her to ease her pain and discomfort.

“My mom always tells me about how the book cart would come around, and that would help. Riley did so much for me, and I wanted to give something back to them,” she said.

To help current and future patients at Riley, Bullock helped collect more than 700 books this summer for its lending library. The novels, picture books, young-adult fantasy stories and other items will entertain kids with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.

Seventeen years has passed since the Greenwood resident finished treatment for a neuroblastoma, a cancer of the nervous system. But the impact that the experience had is still fresh in her mind, and she wanted to make sure the next sick little boy or girl gets the same benefit.

“I’m really thankful for everyone who donated, and I hope everyone likes it,” Bullock said. “I didn’t do this to get attention. I knew that it helped me, and I wanted to help other people.”

The Edward A. Block Family Library is on the first floor of Riley Hospital. The library boasts more than 3,500 books, 1,400 movies and nearly 300 music CDs. Patients at the hospital can check anything out they want, and mobile carts move from room to room to serve children who can’t leave their beds.

Bullock’s donation infused the library with a needed dose of new materials, as well as expanding the selection of reading choices for older kids and teenagers.

“We always need books for the library. We’ve had the carts going through the hospital, and right now, we don’t have very many. Any time we get a donation, it’s huge for us,” librarian Dena Vincent said.

The initial idea was to tie in the book drive with her graduation party. When Bullock, 18, graduated from Greenwood Community High School in May, she requested that guests to her open house bring a gently used book for her to donate to Riley.

Helped by the book cart

But as her family members learned more about it, they wanted to help. Her mother and stepfather took boxes to work and collected items from their friends. Soon, they had rooms full of boxes of books. They cleaned up each one, made sure no pages were ripped and that the books were in good condition.

“We wanted to do this right. We are really just so appreciative of Riley, for all that they’ve given her,” said Carry Crist, Bullock’s mother.

Bullock was 8 months old when she was diagnosed with Stage 4 neuroblastoma. The disease forms on nerve cells in an embryo or fetus, often in the abdomen.

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