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Super Riley kids attend Super Bowl LVII

Super Bowl 2022

The list of celebrities attending Super Bowl LVII was a lengthy one: Rihanna, Sir Paul McCartney, Jay Z, Adele, LeBron James, Eagles great Randall Cunningham, Damar Hamlin.

Brian Barbour III.

Cade Thompson.

The last two names are certainly the biggest celebrities for Riley Children’s Health.

The two young men were in Glendale, Arizona, at State Farm Stadium on Super Bowl Sunday watching what was arguably the best Super Bowl game of their young lives. Brian and Cade, both Riley patients, traveled to Super Bowl LVII courtesy of Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay and Riley Children’s Foundation.

They sat with their families; Cade rooting for the Eagles, Brian for the Chiefs. Both were excited about seeing Rihanna at the halftime show, which included high-flying platforms and dancers floating in the sky. She did not disappoint.

The day they left for the big game, the two beamed as they spoke with reporters in the Riley Simon Family Tower.

“I was just shocked. I’m really excited; I’m just hyped,” Brian told them. “My mom came in my room and read the email to me. I was happy, and I told my sister, but she didn’t believe me.”

Cade recalled his mother telling him he was going to the Super Bowl: “And I’m just like ‘Ooooohhhh.’ It didn’t hit me til about 30 seconds later.”

Twelve-year-old Brian has cystic fibrosis and has been a Riley kid since birth. “He is the best kid,” his mom, Seneka Shannon, said. She thanked the Riley team: “I don’t know where we’d be or how his life would be without you.”

Cade is 18. His smile and energy are easy, happy, chill. He’s an old soul who his dad, Ryan, describes as a modern-day hippie. He wants to surf, live in Hawaii and is designing a clothing line for chemo patients.

Diagnosed with osteosarcoma when he was 15, Cade was just a few months into treatment (29 rounds of chemotherapy and a 15-hour surgery to remove a tumor in his left leg), when his parents both came down with COVID-19. They asked for him to return to Riley as an inpatient for treatment.

“It is important to us as caregivers to make Riley as comfortable of a place as possible for kids, teenagers and young adults battling with cancer and that sometimes requires going the extra mile,” explains pediatric oncologist, and Cade’s doctor, Michael Ferguson, MD, MS.

“The nurses, educators, and Child Life specialists made sure he was awake, alert, engaged and had all the things he needed to finish schoolwork or just to help pass the time, much like family members would do,” says Ferguson. “I would play air hockey with him during these stays—though he beat me every time.”

“It means a lot to me and my colleagues that parents can put that level of trust in us to care for their child,” he adds. “It means we have done our job and made this a welcoming environment for all.”

Cade, Brian and their families are so grateful to Mr. Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts for providing this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Contributing Author: E. Susan Hazzard; Manager, Internal Communications, Riley Children’s Health