INDIANAPOLIS - A central Indiana big sister has crafted a beautiful way to honor her little brother’s memory and to give back to the hospital that took such good care of him up until the moment he died.
Katie Casavan and her best friend Maddie Moore have made it their mission to keep Cooper Casavan’s memory alive for years to come.
Cooper loved Ninja Turtles and he loved baseball. So much so, the nurses at Riley Hospital for Children -- where Cooper spent most of his last four years -- would even play ball with him when they could.
In October, the 6-year-old passed away from the mitochondrial disease he battled most of his short life.
The two girls created a colorful way to make sure Casavan was remembered by starting Letz Make A Rainbow .
The girls began making and selling rainbow loom bracelets for Riley Children's Foundation . They didn't have very high expectations at first.
"It was the first day and we were like, 'Oh, we're going to get like maybe $5 at the most,' and we got like $200. And we were just, like, running around her house screaming," Casavan said.
Casavan and Moore sold 500 bracelets within three weeks and orders started coming in from all over the country.
College basketball-themed bracelets have been popular lately, customized with team names, colors and tiny basketballs.
"It's just really, it's a really good feeling to see that patients are wearing our bracelets and nurses and doctors. And it's just, very small things can make a difference," Moore said.
"A lot of the people who donated, they knew Cooper. And it's nice to see that they want to make Riley a better place," Casavan said.
The girls' efforts will make Riley a better place. They have now raised enough money -- $2,000 -- to dedicate two red wagons at Riley Hospital for Children in Cooper's name. The wagons will be engraved and they will help families move out of the hospital and into brighter futures.
"I think it's going to be really nice. Especially because we're hoping that people transition into a happier part of their lives because their kid is going to be getting better or their kid is already going to be better and leaving the hospital," Casavan said.
The two wagons in Cooper's honor will be at Riley within the next few weeks. The girls will be there to help dedicate them and help officially put them into service.