Alarik “Riky” Howard is an exemplary thirteen-year-old boy who resides in Northwest Indiana. As the Midwest braces itself for a chilly winter, Riky’s heart is far from cold. He was diagnosed with severe chronic pancreatitis when he was just six years old. After countless prolonged stays at Indianapolis’ Riley Children’s Hospital and numerous surgeries, Riky identified a problem – boredom. Much like himself, the children in the pediatric unit remain for extended stays and it can become rather lonesome away from friends and family.
For this reason, he decided to do something about it. In 2012 he asked his father if he could start a toy drive and he has been doing so ever since, allowing him to gift thousands of toys to fellow pediatric patients.
He also organizes food drives, collecting non-perishables and toiletries, for the families staying at Ronald McDonald House near Riley Children’s Hospital. He used his unique perspective, experiences, and condition to make a difference.
After years of battling with this excruciating disease, miraculously he has not had any major surgeries in the past three years and just recently, his doctor cleared him to participate in organized school sports. This fall he is conditioning for basketball tryouts and he also plans on trying out for football as well.
Riky exemplifies the core values of the NPF: Hope – though he battles with his condition daily, he is currently feeling well and there has been progress. Courage – His advice to any kids out there that also have pancreatitis is, “don’t give up!” Advocacy – he decided to fulfill a need to help others and he provides a voice to all the children and their families who suffer from pancreatitis.
To help Riky in his cause, please CLICK HERE. He will be delivering all proceeds from his toy drive on December 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm. To send a check or mail toys please send them to:
RIKYS TOY DRIVE
4056 JOHNSON ST
GARY, INDIANA 46408
Please have checks made out to: CHEER GUILD AT RILEYS
For a list of needed items, please CLICK HERE.