WINONA LAKE — Lakeland Christian Academy seventh-grader Katherine Alderfer was recognized Wednesday, Sept. 18, during a ceremony honoring her as a 2020 Riley Champion.
LCA students, staff and Alderfer’s family attended the event, including her parents, Kristine and Alan Alderfer; and twin sister Caroline Alderfer.
Alderfer is a 13-year-old who goes to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis monthly for an infusion to help control the rash and muscle weakness caused by juvenile dermatomyositis, or JDM, a rare disease that causes Alderfer’s immune system to attack her muscles and skin. The disease affects three in one million children each year.
According to Riley Pediatric Rheumatologist Susan Ballinger, M.D., Riley Hospital only sees seven to 10 JDM cases a year.
Riley Champions presented by Kroger is a program that honors patients from Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health who have inspired communities with their bravery and commitment for helping others while navigating medical challenges. These children serve as advocates and ambassadors for Riley by sharing their stories and participating in special events throughout the year.
“Having a chronic disease doesn’t dim the smile that lights Katherine’s face when she’s playing volleyball, cheerleading or hanging out with her twin sister,” said Susan Miles, Kids’ Caring and Sharing program officer at Riley Children’s Foundation. “The Alderfers helped create the Kosciusko County Riley Kids Fund, which supports programs like Riley Art Therapy. Katherine also proudly shares her story at Riley Dance Marathons across the state. For all of her philanthropic efforts, Riley Children’s Foundation has chosen to honor Katherine as a 2020 Riley Champion presented by Kroger.”
Next month, Alderfer and members of the 2020 class of Riley Champions will be honored as coin toss kids at an Indianapolis Colts football game. In November, the class will be officially honored at Riley’s annual “Be the Hope NOW Luncheon.”
At the recognition ceremony, Miles presented a banner commemorating Alderfer’s status as a Riley Champion. Kroger also gave Alderfer two gift baskets.