Andrew Dys

Future nurses will know of Riley Friddle -- her mom and dad, too

There is a nurse at Rock Hill's Piedmont Medical Center who for years has gone to work almost every day. Andrea Friddle also helps at the hospital with students from York Technical College's nursing program: Students just like she was at York Tech years ago.

Andrea Friddle went to work and helped those students even when her daughter, Riley, fought brain cancer. She worked and helped the students even after Riley died at 4 years old in September.

"My job has always been to help people," Andrea Friddle said.

Even when she was trying to help herself, and her husband, Todd, and that daughter, Riley Friddle.

A pair of instructors who taught Andrea Friddle have decided that Riley's name must be remembered forever. Wednesday morning, one nursing student at York Tech will receive the inaugural Riley Friddle Scholarship. It will be awarded to a student who demonstrated love and compassion in pediatric care.

The idea -- and the $250 scholarship money, straight from their own personal purses -- comes from Jane Fleischer and Gina Misle, instructors who teach about 80 students every semester in a cooperative program with the University of South Carolina-Lancaster.

"Andrea is a nurturing, loving, nurse," Misle said. "Her daughter touched our lives, so many lives, we thought this was the right way to keep her name alive."

Andrea Friddle allowed the nursing instructors to use Riley's medical case and journey to help students. Since Riley died, equipment that Andrea and Todd Friddle had was donated to the nursing program.

"Riley and Todd and Andrea, they have inspired us, just like they inspired so many others," Fleischer said.

Andrea Friddle didn't know about the scholarship until Monday. She heard about it at work. This lady who battled with her daughter so hard, to the end, was floored.

"This is a great honor, a way for Riley's legacy to live on," Andrea Friddle said.

Riley's battle to live affected so many people that a drive has been started to name a patient room the Riley Friddle Room at Levine Children's Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte. Donations have to reach $50,000 to name a room, said Kevin McCarthy, a CMC spokesman: So far $2,250 has been raised.

Twice before at the hospital where Riley spent so many weeks of her life, have donations for patient rooms reached $50,000 to put up that child's name forever, McCarthy said.

It can happen. I hope that Riley Friddle room has bows over the door, like the bows Riley always wore in her white hair.

Fleischer and Misle didn't have to create this scholarship.

They just did it.

Like Andrea and Todd Friddle just did what had to be done when raising their daughter through illness.

Like Riley Friddle just did all she could, lived every minute, like when she went to pre-school just days before she died.

When that student gets that initial scholarship Wednesday at York Tech, there will be clapping and maybe tears.

But no Todd and Andrea Friddle. Not because each doesn't want to be there. But because each will do what people like them do on a Wednesday morning.

"I'll be at work," Andrea Friddle said.

That is what mothers who are nurses, who always made time for the daughter and the students who are just like she was, do.

To donate to the Levine Children's Hospital in Riley Friddle's name, go to levinechildrenshospital.org, call (704) 355-4048, or write to Carolinas HealthCare Foundation, P.O. Box 32861, Charlotte, N.C. 28232.

  Comments