Retired Colts QB Peyton Manning took time out of a busy schedule to visit 8-year-old Violet Rich of Noblesville.
Violet's letter to Peyton: Violet's letter to Peyton Manning
Retired Colts QB Peyton Manning took time out of a busy schedule to visit 8-year-old Violet Rich of Noblesville. Violet's letter to Peyton: Violet's letter to Peyton Manning
An 8-year-old Noblesville girl who is battling leukemia who’s an Indianapolis Colts fans got a nice visit from an Indianapolis Colts player, Ahmad Thomas. He brought her clothes, hats and even a Colts helmet.
And that was just the warm-up act.
Violet Rich was in Room 2006 in the oncology section at Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital. Audra Rich, Violet’s mother, said the child “is a big Colts fan.” She had written a letter to former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and asked if he was free to visit. The Colts organization got the letter and that’s how Thomas, a Colts linebacker, showed up.
For Violet, it was more than enough.
The date was April 24. Audra and husband Michael sat with Violet at the hospital. Earlier that month, the child had been diagnosed with t-cell lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common of childhood leukemia cases. It is estimated to affect 1 in 1,500 children and accounts for 80 percent of all childhood leukemia cases. Now, Violet was two weeks into treatment.
Meanwhile, Manning was in the building preparing to shoot a series of commercials for St. Vincent Health and his namesake hospital. A statement from the company described the commercials as, “a new advertising campaign that will focus on the highly specialized, pediatric care provided by the team at his namesake hospital.” Unbeknownst to Peyton, one of the rooms he was going to use was Violet’s room.
Each child admitted to the hospital gets their own private room, each decorated with a specific theme. Violet’s room was dedicated to Manning. In order to film the commercials, the hospital asked Violet and her family to move out of the room for a bit so they could film. The Rich family said OK and found a new temporary room.
After filming was filming, a hospital representative dropped by the Rich’s room and mentioned that Peyton was interested in making a visit.
“The hospital told us Peyton usually comes the same time every year and it wasn’t in April so it was really random that he was there,” Audra told The Times. “Someone from the hospital told us, ‘no pictures of Peyton, we’ll take those, no asking for autographs.’ Well, he comes in and starts visiting and he picked up one of Violet’s hats and asked her if he could sign it. The nurses in the room were like, ‘he never signs anything.’ ”
The visit was uplifting.
“With everything going on, it was a really difficult and intense time for her,” Audra said. “It was really nice of him to come see her. It made her really excited.”
Violet, who will turn 9 in September, would have started the third grade this fall at Promise Road Elementary School. Audra said that Violet will miss the beginning of school. “She’s got two more years of treatment. She won’t start school in the fall because of how the treatment makes her feel. I actually had breast cancer, five years ago, and I’m in remission now but we know what this process can be like.”
Support for Violet hasn’t come just from her family and the Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital, Audra said. “The principal at Promise Road is actually really involved in helping Violet. She lost her son to leukemia 11 years ago, so she has been awesome in helping us with this and supporting us.”