7-year-old boy collecting Pillow Pets for Riley patients

Jake McConahay is in the fight for his life, but he’s not letting it stop him from brightening up others’ lives.

The 7-year-old boy, a patient at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health, is battling stage IV of an aggressive and rare form of cancer, Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. The doctors have not given Jake a good prognosis, but the Westfield boy is still undergoing regular chemotherapy treatments.

“He’s taken it pretty well, but it’s been a very fast growing cancer and none of the treatments they have done has helped,” his mother, Tosha McConahay, told the blog Northviewblog.us.

Nevertheless, Jake is mustering up what energy he has left to launch a campaign at getting every child that comes to Riley a Pillow Pet, which is a pillow that, once folded, resembles a stuffed animal.

That’s a tall order, given Riley sees roughly 18,000 admissions and observation cases per year, but Jake has made great progress, collecting about 2,000 Pillow Pets in the campaign’s first four months. The campaign will go through the end of the month.

Still, Jake needs your help, especially if, as he told local television station WRTV, he now hopes to collect “millions of Pillow Pets.”

“(I want to) give them to the kids at Riley (Hospital for Children),” he told the station. “It will make them happy.”

How to help
Pillow Pets, which are available at several stores, including Walgreens, Meijer, K-Mart, Target and Walmart, can be dropped off at the following locations through the end of the month:

  • Riley Hospital for Children Info Desk, Atrium (include note addressing it to Child Life)
  • IU Health Methodist Hospital, C100 (starting March 21)
  • Northview Christian Life Church, 5535 E. 131st St., Carmel
  • Any Central Indiana Applebee’s location

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