This year, we have been so blessed and excited to welcome Nicole Martins and Andrew Weaver, two Telecom professors at IU, to our IUDM family as the new faculty advisors!

While Nicole and Andrew our new to our Dance Marathon family, they have been deeply intertwined with the hospital as a Riley family since 2009, after their son Owen was born early at 27 weeks gestation, 13 weeks before his set due date in June of 2009.

After being born so early, Owen had no heartbeat and was not breathing. Thankfully, the doctors were able to quickly revive him and have him airlifted to Riley, where he would spend the next four months in the NICU. While at Riley, Nicole’s and Andrew’s new baby boy would fight off two infections that would nearly claim his life, a brain bleed, and eye issues that almost caused him to go blind. After fighting through these medical issues, Owen was finally strong enough to come home a week after his initial due date.

Thanks to Riley, Owen is able to now in kindergarten and is going to celebrate his 5th birthday with his parents and his baby brother Elliot!

“I truly believe that if Owen was born any where else, he would not have made it. I feel completely indebted to Riley for giving me my son,” Nicole said while describing her Riley experience.

Nicole and Andrew are extremely excited to participate in this year’s Dance Marathon, where they will be able to give back to the hospital that gave them a life full of joy in Owen.

“Andrew and I are in awe of what you all do each year to make miracles happen for other Riley children and their families,” Nicole said.

Written by Paige Hergenrother