Londyn Hoffman: 2024 Riley Champion
If you are lucky enough to meet 8-year-old Londyn Hoffman from Westfield, Indiana, chances are you’ll become her instant friend. At her brother’s ballgames, she not only says “hi” to the other families – she asks for people’s names and wins their instant affection. “We say that Londyn is our shining little unicorn because she is always happy,” says her mother, Jenna Hoffman. “No matter what obstacle she’s faced, she has shined her way through.”
There’s another reason the “unicorn” comparison has stuck: a rare combination of medical conditions that led Londyn on a one-of-a-kind health journey.
A TRIO OF DIAGNOSES
When Londyn was a baby, her parents noticed she wasn’t hitting the typical developmental milestones. She visited many specialists at Riley Children’s Health, and ultimately was directed to Erin Conboy, M.D., with the Pediatric Genetics team. They discovered Londyn had a genetic condition so rare, it had no name yet.
At age 5, Londyn’s journey took a second unusual turn: She was diagnosed with a rare cancer, rhabdomyosarcoma, which affected the orbit of her eye. After Londyn began chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she hit a third surprising twist: a rare neurological condition, Guillain-Barre syndrome. “That put her on a ventilator for five weeks,” says Jenna. Londyn then spent five more weeks in the Riley Children’s inpatient physical rehabilitation unit while continuing chemo.
Londyn beat her cancer in 2021, but against the odds it soon returned. The Riley oncology team partnered with an East Coast hospital to remove the affected eye in a life-saving surgery. “I hope that Londyn can bring hope to those that are struggling with complications from therapy,” says Riley Pediatric Oncologist Michael Ferguson, M.D., who led Londyn’s cancer care. “She is a shining example that children can recover from extremely difficult situations and that there should always be hope.”
Today, Londyn is cancer-free and as smiley as ever. The whole Hoffman family loves giving back, from bringing unicorn cookies to Riley, to supporting the Riley Cheer Guild, to helping at the Westfield High School Riley Dance Marathon. “Londyn loves to dance, get up on stage, and wave and say hi!” says Jenna. “Experiencing firsthand the impact the giving has on these kids brings tremendous feelings of joy,” adds Londyn’s dad, Adam.
Jenna sees the Riley Champions program as one more opportunity to pay it forward. “We’ve been positively impacted by so many departments at Riley,” she says. “They do wonders for these kids.”