TERRE HAUTE —
Even third-degree burns don’t get a cheerleader down when it’s time to play.
Nine-year-old Carmen Schleppy — who suffered severe burns in 2011 — got on the field inside Lucas Oil Stadium Sunday as Indianapolis squared off against the Miami Dolphins. Earlier in the weekend she helped launch the Indiana Pacers’ opening night, all as part of the 2013 Class of Riley Champions presented by Kroger.
By 2:30 p.m. Sunday, the stadium was loud with cheers, but Carmen said over the telephone she was having fun.
“Watching the cheerleaders,” she said when asked about what she saw.
Last week, Carmen’s mother, Colleen, said her daughter’s accident on May 2, 2011, resulted in severe burns over 60 percent of her body. The family was moving into its new home just south of Brazil, and the little girl was standing next to the fireplace in their old home. Sparks caught onto her skirt, and within seconds her clothes were on fire. The burns, both second- and third-degree, were severe, covering her left leg and waist, up her back. Portions of her right leg and left hand were also burned.
Carmen was airlifted to Riley Hospital for Children, which offers the only pediatric burn unit in the state.
“All the nurses were outstanding,” Colleen said, crediting the program’s diverse range of therapies from physical to occupational. “She had to learn to walk all over again.”
Carmen spent three months at Riley as a patient, two of which were in bed. Nine surgeries and months of therapy later, she was back to catching frogs in her family’s pond.
“She’s back into tumbling and cheerleading and her normal Brownie activities. Nothing stops her,” Colleen said of the Jackson Township Elementary School student.
Kathy McGregor, clinical manager at the Riley Burn Center, said Carmen’s successful recovery is one of the reasons staff are so loyal to the program. Getting kids back to playing after severe burns is very rewarding.
“She had a tough fight,” McGregor recalled.
But the program incorporates as much fun into recovery as possible, and Carmen proudly displayed her necklaces full of beads and charms earned while an in-patient. Children in the burn unit are given beads each day as they complete routine tasks, from waking up and going to bed, to completing various therapies. The incentives add up, and by the end of three months Carmen had several necklaces full of ornaments.
The beads program, sponsored by former Colts player Jeff Saturday (now with the Green Bay Packers), gives kids something they can look forward each day, McGregor said.
“That’s something that’s pretty unique to what we do,” she said, explaining how the kids use the beads as a measure of their own progress.
Carmen also enjoyed her music and art therapy.
“I had lots of fun doing music therapy because I like to play the guitar,” she said.
Art therapy involved coloring and making princess ornaments, all of which helped her regain fine motor skills in her hand.
The Riley Champions program was launched five years ago to honor patients who have inspired communities with their bravery and commitment to help others. The group is selected from nominations submitted by Riley Hospital caregivers, Riley Children’s Foundation staff, school administrators and others inspired by their character.
After her experiences in the hospital, Carmen has begun raising funds for the Hoosier Burn Camp, which provides activities for children and networking for past patients.
With nurses at the hospital, she also helped start Compression for Compassion, a program which sends compression garments to burn survivors in Third World countries.
Carmen said she was looking forward to meeting the seven other Riley Champions in her class, and Thursday afternoon she was hoping to score a hug from Colts quarterback Andrew Luck.
“Nothing gets her down,” her mother said.
Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or email@example.com.
18 months after injury, Carmen in spotlight from Riley, Colts
TERRE HAUTE —
Even third-degree burns don’t get a cheerleader down when it’s time to play.
- Local & Bistate
Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie
Spurred in 1948 by a newly released movie staring Cary Grant and Myrna Loy, coupled with a growing post-World War II housing market, General Electric partnered with Hollywood’s RKO Studios to build “dream homes” throughout the country.
A panel of public and private officials is calling for $10 billion in projects to upgrade Indiana’s aging roads and bridges, but its members concede there’s no money to pay for it all.
MARK BENNETT: Making road work a barrel of fun for drivers
We’re lucky orange barrels can’t talk.
City Council to take up city finances tonight
The Terre Haute City Council will have a chance in a special meeting tonight to delve deeply into the city’s financial health. However, council members are being asked to avoid raising the most controversial subject of recent weeks: The city’s use of Redevelopment Commission tax increment finance (TIF) money.
Bennett accepts $5,000 fine in ethics settlement
Former Indiana Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett has agreed to pay $5,000 as part of a settlement with Indiana’s ethics watchdog in which he admits to using state resources for campaign work but is cleared of formal ethics violations in the grade-change scandal that cost him his job as Florida’s schools chief last year.
Vermillion Jail trusties face new charges
Two former inmate trusties at the Vermillion County Jail face new criminal charges after a recently discovered security breach at the jail.
Lawrence police acquire armored military vehicle
A central Indiana city has acquired an armored military vehicle for use in highly dangerous situations.
Free carwash for law enforcement
Mike’s Carwash locations in Central Indiana, including Terre Haute, will honor the sacrifice of IMPD Officer Perry Renn and thank all those who serve and protect our communities with a free carwash for police and emergency personnel today and Friday.
Indiana agencies told to ignore gay marriages
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s office is telling state agencies act as if no gay marriages had been performed during three days following a federal court order.
State reports West Nile virus-infected mosquitoes
INDIANAPOLIS — State health officials confirmed the first signs of West Nile virus activity in Indiana for 2014. Mosquitoes in Marshall and Pike counties have tested positive for West Nile virus. There have been no reported cases of West Nile virus in humans in the state this year.
Indiana education board faces contentious meeting
Indiana’s State Board of Education is gearing up for another showdown between Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence’s appointees and staff.
The board is set to consider a pair of resolutions dealing with control of the board during a meeting Wednesday.
Vigo County Jail Log: July 9, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Tuesday and Wednesday, based on jail records.
Indiana getting $849,000 for outdoor projects
Indiana is receiving $849,000 to use toward outdoor recreation and conservation projects.
Semi fire halts I-70 traffic in Putnam County
A fire in a semi tractor-trailer temporarily closed eastbound lanes of Interstate 70 in Putnam County on Tuesday evening.
I&M proposes five solar facilities in two states
Indiana Michigan Power plans to seek permission to build five solar generating facilities in the two states it serves.
Hitting a high note
A 17-year-old from Casey, Ill., won “The Voice of the Valley” Tuesday night, singing and shaking his hips and legs to an Elvis Presley song, then wooing the grandstand audience at the Wabash Valley Fairgrounds with a country tune.
Clay County residents clean up debris, get power back
Several power outages still affected hundreds of Duke Energy customers on Tuesday, more than 24 hours after storms and strong winds swept through west-central Indiana, leaving a swath of damage in the Staunton, Brazil and Center Point areas.
Return to Indiana?
Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
Planning under way for 2014 Downtown Block Party
Wabash Avenue will be full of activity Aug. 23 as the 2014 Downtown Terre Haute Block Party takes over five city blocks in a celebration of music, food and events.
Guys give food bank a lift
A $14,000 donation Tuesday from Guys Who Give enables Catholic Charities to be at nearly 75 percent of its $2.5 million goal to purchase and operate a new, larger food bank near Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field.
‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody
A man sought by the Vermillion County Sheriff's Department has been nabbed by police in Indianapolis.
eBus brings financial empowerment to town
A 40-foot long mobile classroom is scheduled to roll into Terre Haute today, carrying what its sponsors call “financial empowerment.”
Elderly woman accused of killing 89-year-old husband
An 83-year-old woman, described as "a loose cannon" by her landlord, has been arrested in this Buffalo suburb for beating her 89-year-old husband to death.
BREAKING: ‘Dangerous’ suspect in police custody
A suspect police considered “armed and dangerous” is now in custody in Marion County.
Robert Wilson is facing local charges there and has a hold on him for Vermillion County, according to Vermillion County Sheriff Robert J. Spence.
Former governor Bayh weighs decision to run again
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Evan Bayh is keeping Indiana Democrats on hold.
Party loyalists longing for a political savior to retake the governor's office have been waiting on Bayh ever since he abruptly decided to leave the U.S. Senate and political life three years ago.
Vigo County Jail Log: July 8, 2014
The following individuals were booked into the Vigo County Jail by area law enforcement on Monday and Tuesday, based on jail records.
Update: Silver Alert for Lawrence man canceled
The city of Lawrence Police Department has canceled a Silver Alert issued earlier this morning.
Thomas to resign as Indiana’s inspector general
The only person to serve as Indiana’s top ethics watchdog since the position of inspector general was created in 2005 is planning to leave.
Photo update: Indiana 42 washed out in Clay County
A state highway in western Indiana has been closed after heavy rains washed out part of the roadway.
Maker of history
A humble man with a heart for helping others is an apt description for Terre Haute resident Curtis B. Culver.
Culver died July 2 at age 94, leaving behind a legacy of missionary work and social involvement.
- More Local & Bistate Headlines
- Historic Ohio Boulevard house inspired by 1948 Cary Grant movie