Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

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August 27, 2013

'Blobby Katy' toy to benefit Riley Hospital for Children

Stuffed animal designed by ex-patient

(Continued)

INDIANAPOLIS —

Sophia at least knew Blobby Katy would wear a pink beret because she’s French. The fact that Sophia’s been in ballet since age 2 probably helped inspire that.

That came to a temporary halt when she was 4. Sophia was diagnosed with kidney cancer. She spent the next nine months in and out of Riley for chemotherapy and other treatments.

“I call that the year we lived at the hospital,” Melissa said. Sophia has been in maintenance mode ever since.

She’s always been artistic. It’s a trait she gets from her mom, who studied fine arts at Purdue, and not her dad.

“I have trouble drawing a stick figure,” Jason said.

When he found out about the Promise Monsters contest, he asked Melissa if she thought Sophia would be interested. The response was absolutely.

“She came up (the monster) all on her own,” Jason said.

Cassie Martin, officer of special projects for Riley, says the Promise Monsters contest was highly unusual for the hospital. The closest one she could compare it to was the holiday card design.

“We work with our child life staff to identify some of the families (who might want to participate in a contest),” said Martin, adding activities like this help Riley in two ways.

“We’re always looking for ways to spread the word about Riley and the families it impacts,” she said. “Sophia is a great example of that.”

And then there’s the financial component. Promise Monsters will donate $5 from every Blobby Katy sold to Riley’s foundation. The toy is expected to be available this Christmas.

“More than half of our programs aren’t self-sustaining, so we’re reliant on donors to help bridge that gap,” Martin said. “That way we can not only maintain but enhance the programs we have.”

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