Family thanks Riley for children's recovery

The Peterson family spent time at Riley as their children recovered from a car crash.
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As many families look to make end of the year donations, Riley Hospital for Children-IU Health is hoping that Hoosiers will support their "The Gift of Hope...Happens Here" campaign.

The Peterson family of Indianapolis has a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. For one, they have three happy and healthy children, but it's been a long road getting here.

Becky Peterson remembers the call she and her husband John received in December 2011. Charlie, Kate and Gabriel had been in a serious car accident with their babysitter.

"I think it was a fireman that called and said due to the severity of your youngest, we're going to take your kids to Riley. They kept saying, 'We can't share the extent of the injury,' I think it was touch and go for him," she said.

Riley's emergency department is Indiana's only Level 1 pediatric trauma center. In fact, hospitals throughout the state send children with the most critical medical emergencies to Riley.

Gabriel was the most severely injured of the Peterson children with a traumatic brain injury. He was in the hospital for nearly a month, recovering and re-learning things like walking and eating.

"Riley is a good place to go when you have an accident, because they teach you how to do the things you can't do," Gabriel said.

Big brother Charlie had a broken arm and collarbone.

"No one really remember exactly getting hit, but what I remember earlier was just lights flashing before I blacked out," Charlie said.

Sister Kate suffered a cut on her face that required more than 100 stitches.

"I remember Charlie and I in the ambulance together. He was trying to comfort me, because I was saying 'I want mommy. I want daddy'," she said.

In the end, it was the comfort all of the Petersons found at Riley Hospital that got them through a critical time for their entire family.

"You always hear of Riley, you know, it's here, you really don't know how good we have it until you experience something like this and it's such an amazing hospital and amazing staff and volunteers," Becky said.

"Thank you and it means a lot, because I'm cured," Gabriel said.

Riley Children's Foundation