Riley’s joy was contagious. She had the best smile and never complained— not when she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma in 2017, when she had a recurrence in 2019, nor when she was stuck in quarantine in 2020 due to her immunocompromised status.
After her recurrence, Riley’s parents, Sabrina and Ahmad, were introduced to Breathing Room Foundation, who sent Riley an Easter basket. Riley’s infectious smile once again lit up, excited and grateful that someone was thinking of her and sending her this special package. Her joy radiated.
Quarantine made things really difficult for the Robinson family. As Riley’s disease progressed, the fear of COVID-19 limited their ability to experience life with Riley outside of their home. After Riley passed in May the family held on to the beautiful memories, like Easter that brought them so much love and laughter.
That summer Sabrina heard from BRF again to offer back to school supplies. When Sabrina shared the news of Riley’s passing, BRF didn’t just offer condolences and hang up. Instead, they asked if there was anyone else who would benefit from
Riley’s school supplies. Sabrina immediately thought of Riley’s best friend, Mikayla, who lived around the corner, remained a constant presence inthe Robinson’s life, and was grieving along with Sabrina and Ahmad. This gesture brought joy to Mikayla in a difficult time, as Riley had throughout their friendship.
In the fall, Sabrina was struggling with how to honor Riley’s 9th birthday. Around that time, she noticed Riley’s Christmas list on the refrigerator— her favorite holiday— and knew she wanted to honor Riley by giving to other little girls in need of joy. Sabrina thought “to know what it felt like to be on the receiving end, and then be able to turn around and make someone else feel that good, I know that’s what Riley would have wanted.” Sabrina saw an opportunity to do some good and to spread Riley’s joy once again.
Sabrina and Ahmad worked with BRF to identify girls around Riley’s age who would enjoy the same type of gifts Riley had on her list. The ability to offer personalized, individualized gifts helped the Robinsons to see how Riley’s life would continue to have impact on others.
When Riley’s best friend Mikayla saw the gifts and learned what they were for, she wanted to help too. Mikayla joined Sabrina and Ahmad as they delivered the donations together. Once again, Riley’s legacy brought joy to those who loved her. When Mikayla got home she told her mom she “want[s] to be one of the people that do good for other people and write them cards and bring them presents.”
Riley’s infectious smile and joyful way will continue to inspire those who loved her to do good in her name. We hope Riley’s story will inspire you to find opportunities to “do good”.