Riley’s Story, shared by his father, Grady
Grady Angeloff remembers his son Riley’s big brown eyes and his ability to light up a room. Riley was born prematurely and spent the first four months of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit, on a ventilator.
Eventually he was well enough to go home, but Riley struggled and required ongoing medical treatment. Shortly after celebrating his first birthday, Riley stopped breathing and was rushed to the hospital. A short time later he died.
Grady and his wife made the difficult decision to donate their son’s heart valves in an effort to save the lives of other children. It makes Grady feel better to know that his son is still going to live not only in his memory, but in other children.
“If I could meet the recipients of Riley’s donations,” says Grady, “I would tell them that they are truly blessed with the best thing they could ever have, and it’s also the best thing that I ever had so take care of that the best you can.
As a blood operations specialist, Grady knows how important it is to give the gift of life. Losing Riley prompted him to join the organ, tissue and eye registry in honor of his son.
“You always think of these things as being somebody else’s problem, says Grady. “But when it happens to you, you want to just raise a flag and make everyone aware.
A decision to donate can be the life-changing difference for patients in need so Grady encourages everyone to share life by registering to become an organ, tissue, marrow and eye donor, and by donating blood. He also advises people to share their life-saving wish with their family members.