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Published on December 21, 2016

Fennimore boy shares Christmas love

Susan Dax and Wendi Stitzer accept gifts from Riley Horsfall and his sisters.

Susan Dax and Wendi Stitzer accept gifts from Riley Horsfall and his sisters.

The Gundersen Boscobel Area Hospital and Clinics Emergency Department got a very special gift last week. And that gift was wrapped with love.

Over the years, Riley Horsfall, age 5, son of Jamie and Heather Horsfall, Fennimore, has had several surgeries, all stemming from a staph infection from a surgery when he was just 12 months old. One of those follow-up surgeries caused Riley to have to spend time in the hospital just before Christmas. 

This year, Riley remembered that event, and instead of having bad feelings, he wanted to do something positive. He wanted to buy presents for kids that that have to go to the emergency room or spend time in the hospital over the holidays this year. He wanted them to have something to make what could be a hard Christmas a little easier—just like others had done for him. Riley specifically remembered being given a "Thomas the Train" toy to play with, which made his hospital stay more fun. "I just wanted other kids to have something to play with so they wouldn't be sad while they were in the hospital," Riley shared. 

To make this dream a reality, a few weeks ago, Riley's mom, Heather called Gundersen Boscobel Emergency Services Director Wendi Stitzer to share his special request. "We thought it was a great idea," Wendi explained. "And we especially thought it was pretty neat that Riley had come up with it himself." So Wendi set a time for delivery. 

Riley, along with his sisters Maggie, age 10, and Natalie, age 7, delivered toys to Gundersen Boscobel Hospital on December 14. Those toys were picked out by the three Horsfall kids, with help from their big sister, Olivia, and the Jim Nelson family, also of Fennimore.   

Jamie and Heather should be very proud. Instead of dwelling on the negative experiences of having had several surgeries before turning 5, Riley is focused on the positive—helping to make similar experiences more pleasant for other kids who may have to endure the same. And, this Christmas, children who visit Gundersen Boscobel Hospital will receive an unexpected gift, courtesy of a special 5-year old boy, with help from his sisters.

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