News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 10, 2012

‘BJ Claus’ collects 1,600 toys for Riley

Riley Hospital for Children

INDIANAPOLIS — BJ Yoho is one of the most motivated kids you’ll ever meet. With an ear-to-ear smile, BJ is eager to bring joy into other kids’ lives.

Dubbed “BJ Claus” by his friends and family in Greene County, BJ makes a difference for other patients at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health by doling out toys at Christmas.

At 10 this morning, BJ will deliver a personal record of 1,600 new toys underneath the tree in the Riley Simon Family Tower main lobby in Indianapolis.

Born with spina bifida, BJ knows the halls of Riley Hospital for Children like the back of his hand. BJ describes Riley Hospital as his “second home.”

 It is a place that encourages him daily to “never give up hope.” He received his first surgery at Indiana’s only nationally ranked and comprehensive children’s hospital less than 24 hours after he was born. Since then, BJ has overcome 16 additional surgeries and the amputation of his right leg.

His courage and determination to help others despite serious medical obstacles is why Riley Children’s Foundation selected BJ as the 2012 Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana. As the Riley Hospital representative, he united with champions from each state and traveled to Washington, D.C., and Walt Disney World.  

For the last three years BJ has united teachers, businesses and church groups around Bloomfield in the toy drive.

In 2011, he set a new record by collecting 638 toys. This year, he far exceeded his goal of 1,000 toys thanks to contributions from his hometown school, Eastern Greene Elementary, and support from Bloomfield Elementary and Lakeview Elementary in Bloomington.

“Despite his challenges, BJ never loses his permanent smile and desire to serve others,” said Blaine Yoho, BJ’s mother.

Chris White, who owns three Ace Hardware stores in Indianapolis and Kohl’s Department Stores, will also deliver several hundred gifts on Monday in BJ’s name.

Riley Children’s Foundation supports Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.

Each year children from all 92 Indiana counties turn to Riley Hospital and its regional clinics throughout the state more than 230,000 times.