LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI)— A Miami Elementary student has a busy year ahead of her. Addyson Wooldridge has been chosen to represent Riley Hospital for Children in a very special way. She is a Riley Champion for the year 2020.
News 18 met with the third grader, who has grown up spending a lot of time at the children's hospital.
Addyson's first surgery was when she was just 17 hours old, and she's had many more since.
All her life she's been fighting like a champion, so she's extremely deserving of this title.
Addyson will turn nine-years-old in October, but the girl's outlook on life is wise beyond her years.
"She's just the bravest kid I know," said Hope Wooldridge, Addyson's mother.
Addyson had to be brave from the beginning.
"She was born with spina bifida with a myelomeningocele, which basically means her spine was coming out of her back and her body created a sack to protect her back," Hope explained.
Addyson was born with clubfoot, so she's unable to walk without assistance.
News 18 asked, "Addyson, do you think that you're ever held back?"
She immediately replied, "No."
Addyson continued, "I do my homework, we go to my cheer practice, we go to horseback riding for me. It's pretty much our daily life."
A lot of Addyson's life has also been spent at Riley Hospital for Children.
The Wooldridge's are always fundraising and finding ways to give back to the hospital that they say has done so much for them. The family enjoys raising money for the Riley Dance Marathon Program.
Addyson's Mother asked her, "What's your favorite part about your room at Riley? What did you want to take home with you?"
She quickly answered, "The bed. I love the bed. The bed is my favorite part."
Addyson's room both at home and at Riley is filled with memories and support.
"Addyson has never really gone anywhere by herself. Somebody once said, "there's Addyson and her entourage." It just kind of stuck," Hope said. "Shes pretty famous as people like to call her."
News 18 asked Addyson what it's like being famous?
Her answer? "It's fun."
The girl's famous attitude landed her a spot as a 2020 Riley Champion.
"I was just super happy and excited that I was a part of it. I thought that I was gonna cry," she said.
Addyson is one of eight Riley champions. For the next year she'll be making appearances, speaking at events and representing Riley.
"They're kind of the face and the heart of the hospital for a year," Hope added.
Addyson said she was so happy to be chosen, because now she can help the other kids.
"I want to be a Riley champion because I want to be able to go around and help the other ones that can't really do much."
The Wooldridge's feel lucky to be able to support the other children in the hospital.
"Nobody ever wants to be a Riley family. But when you need them, it's an amazing place to go to," Hope explained. "To be able to give back to the hospital, we couldn't ask for a better opportunity."
On Addyson's accomplishment of being chosen as a 2020 Riley Champion, Hope said "She's living her best life."
Addyson has some advice for her fellow Riley kids.
"Be brave and be happy."
She officially starts her duties as a Riley Champion in November.
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