Local Walmart kicks off another year of fundraising for Riley

During a kickoff meeting for this year’s fundraising for Riley Hospital for Children by Walmart Supercenter associates in Seymour, store manager Shelby Lewis asked two questions.

Who has been in the care of Riley and who knows someone who went to the children’s hospital in Indianapolis?

Two associates raised their hands to the first question, and then everyone in the room raised their hand to the second question.

Walmart associate Debra Douglas told of her experience with Riley when her granddaughter, Azmerah Dawson, fell into a pool when she was only 4.

“Riley did an amazing job making sure she got the care she needed,” she said. “Things like this can happen to anybody. I didn’t think it would happen to my family, but it did.”

Douglas said thanks to Riley, her granddaughter is now a thriving and happy 6-year-old.

Walmart associate Bryan Asbury also shared his experience with Riley when his middle child, Cole, 7, was born with complications.

While holding back tears, Asbury said when Cole was born, he suffered brain damage. During the first month of Cole’s life, he was not able to cry due to breathing tubes, and Asbury was not able to hold his newborn son for the first month of his life.

While Cole still suffers from cerebral palsy, he has made a great recovery, Asbury said.

“This money really does go for a good cause,” he said.

In 2022, Walmart in Seymour raised $19,700 in donations for Riley. With this accomplishment, the store was awarded a banner to hang up in the store for achieving the bronze level status of fundraising.

Each year, children from all 92 Indiana counties visit Riley more than 320,000 times. Riley also is No. 6 in the world for child care.

“They care for every child, so whether or not they have insurance, they will still bring the child in and care for them the same,” Noelle Fuhrmann said during the kickoff meeting. “Nobody goes without care.”

During the kickoff meeting, team leaders showed associates how much money they would need to raise to get a higher level banner. This year, the Seymour store plans to go bigger with a goal to raise $25,000 and achieve the gold banner.

Two Walmart stores in the surrounding area were able to achieve platinum level raising at least $50,000 or more: Walmart in Columbus off of Interstate 65 and Walmart in Bedford.

Lewis said those two stores that are within an hour drive of Seymour raised more than $100,000 total.

The campaign will kick off June 12 and last through July 14, but fundraising will be done year-round.

Walmart will be hosting various fundraising events and opportunities throughout the summer, starting with the second Flexin’ for Riley event June 18.

This event welcomes Jeep enthusiasts to come and test their Jeep’s flexing capabilities. Registration for the event begins at 9 a.m. that day with an entry fee of $20 per Jeep.

Prizes will be awarded to the first, second and third overall and for best flex. The event will take place in the parking lot at the store, 1600 E. Tipton St., Seymour. Food and a raffle also will be available.

Other events include water balloon your manager, a car wash, selling lemonade, selling breakfast to associates and customers, a pet contest and trunk or treat.

All funds raised will go to support Riley.