INDIANAPOLIS (WTHI) - BJ Yoho is one of the most motivated kids you'll ever meet. With an ear-to-ear smile, BJ is eager to bring joy into other kids' lives. Born with spina bifida, BJ also knows the halls of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health like the back of his hand. His courage and determination to help others despite serious medical obstacles is what led to his selection as the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana.
Dubbed "BJ Claus" by his friends and family, BJ makes a difference for other patients at Riley Hospital for Children by doling out toys at Christmas. For the last three years BJ has united teachers, businesses and church groups around Bloomfield, Ind., in the toy drive. In 2011, he set a new record by collecting 638 toys. He has already begun collecting for this year's Christmas drive with a goal of 1,000 toys.
BJ describes Riley Hospital as his "second home." It is a place that encourages him daily to "never give up hope." He received his first surgery at Indiana's only nationally ranked and comprehensive children's hospital less than 24 hours after he was born. Since then, BJ has overcome 16 additional surgeries and the amputation of his right leg.
"Despite his challenges, BJ never loses his permanent smile and desire to serve others," said Blaine Yoho, BJ's mother.
This summer, Blaine and BJ accepted an invitation to serve as co-county leaders for Riley Children's Foundation, the fundraising organization supporting Riley Hospital that nominated BJ for the ambassador role. BJ also appeared on the back of a Cheerios box promoting John Andretti's 16 th annual Kroger Race for Riley fundraiser. In 2008, his artwork was selected for the Riley Holiday Card program.
"BJ Yoho Day"
BJ's effort of paying it forward never had any expectation of reward. But on Wednesday, August 22, he will receive a very big honor. During an all-school assembly at Eastern Greene Elementary School BJ will be officially recognized by Riley Children's Foundation as the 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana.
The Champions program, sponsored by Delta, Ace Hardware, and Chico's, brings 50 children together from across the country that all have tackled severe medical challenges. BJ will help represent the 17 million children that are treated at 170 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals each year. Through the Champions program, he will continue supporting fundraising campaigns for Riley Hospital. In September, BJ will visit Washington, D.C. (Sept. 16-18), and then Walt Disney World (Sept. 19-22) to inspire others to support children's hospitals.
Wednesday, August 22 has been declared "BJ Yoho Day" by the Bloomfield Town Council. A proclamation will be read at the event. Additional surprises are also planned, and all students will receive a red Riley Hospital for Children bracelet.
Sharon Abts, principal at Eastern Greene Elementary School, has announced the school will conduct a Kids Caring & Sharing fundraising campaign in BJ's honor. Kids Caring & Sharing ( KidsCaringandSharing.org ) is the philanthropic initiative embraced by Indiana Association of School Principals in support of Riley Hospital
WHAT: All-school assembly honoring BJ Yoho as 2012 Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana
WHO: BJ Yoho, his mom Blaine Yoho, and his grandparents Jim and Joyce Yoho
Ty Mungle, superintendent, Eastern Greene Schools
Sharon Abts, principal, Eastern Greene Elementary School
Riley Children's Foundation
WHEN: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
WHERE: Eastern Greene Elementary School
10503 E. St. Road 54
Bloomfield, IN 47424
Release from Riley Children's Hospital
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