Alaina Caswell - 18 - Indiana Interview by Larissa Chelius Nomination and Photography by Jennifer Dunn Photography Issue 16 Inspiring Teens Magazine
The Nomination: Alaina is one of the sweetest girls I have ever met. She loves her family and her sweet dog Jackson! She is always willing to go above and beyond to help others!
What challenges have you overcome?
My sophomore year of high school I had severe back pain and severe headaches. I ended up having a tethered cord surgery. My spine was attached to my spinal column by a piece of fatty tissue and it had to be cut. It was supposed to be a simple surgery with a short recovery time, but I was out of school out for the rest of the school year. My head hurt constantly, and simple tasks became hard. Later that year I began having absence seizures. I was so sad that I was missing out at school and couldn’t hang out with my friends. I became depressed and it was by far the lowest point of my life. Around April, my doctors finally found a medicine that began easing my pain. I remember working so hard to keep up with my schoolwork. I was determined to do well and not let anything stop me. I finished that year with a 4.2 gpa. That year was a true victory my me physically and mentally. I definitely grew as a person that year.
What activities do you participate in?
I’ve been a member of the Riley Dance Marathon committee for two years. Dance Marathon is an event at my school that raises money to benefit Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. Students attend Dance Marathon after raising money and stay on their feet for eight hours in support of the children who cannot in the hospital. Committee members oversee the entire event and my groups job is to stay in direct contact with the hospital. We invite Riley children to attend and share their inspiring stories. This extracurricular is important to me because my family is a Riley family. My sister and I have both been treated at the hospital. My sister had a shunt surgically implanted in her head and several Lumbar punctures. I received treatment for severe headaches. My family is extremely thankful for the amazing care we received there.
What do you do to help others?
Dance Marathon is the main way I help others. Last year, the fundraiser raised over $63,000 for the hospital! I was so proud to be a part of that. Every sick child deserves the best care when they’re battling an illness and that’s exactly what Riley offers. I should know! I’m so passionate about the work that Riley does and I’m thankful I have the opportunity to give back to them.
Alaina was featured in Issue 16 of Inspiring Teens Magazine.