Generations of caring: Grandmother, grandson share ties to Riley


Denise Saba-Higgins, left, was treated at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for a kidney disorder in the 1950s, and her grandson Blaine Raider, center, was treated for leukemia in 2008. The family, including Blain's mother Alisha Raider, right, is grateful for the excellent care the two received at Riley. PHOTO BY SCOTT ROBERSON

More than 50 years separate the treatments of grandmother and grandson.

When Blaine Raider was diagnosed with leukemia in 2008, he was treated in the cancer center at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis. He had an all-glass room, a recliner where his mom slept every night, and a TV where could watch hours of “SpongeBob SquarePants” while waiting for his bone marrow transplant.

His grandmother, Denise Saba-Higgins, often sat for hours in the room with him. She prayed that doctors would save his life, just as they had hers.

Nearly four years later, Saba-Higgins and her grandson can look back at the experience with celebration. Blaine received his transplant, and the cancer has not come back.

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