Sweet story: grandmother writes children’s book to help granddaughter after losing legs

Regional News

BALDWINSVILLE, N.Y. (WSYR) — We all have a story. Our lives are made up of little moments. Some of them are bad, some of them are good. All of them make us who we are.

The Gosson family is turning the pages to a chapter worth celebrating.

This particular story starts in 2019.

Riley Rose Gosson was two years old when she ended up in Golisano Children’s Hospital fighting for her life.

Riley had bacterial meningitis as a result of an infection caused by an undiagnosed birth defect.

She was admitted to the hospital on December 21, 2019. By January 10, 2020 doctors were in the operating room taking extreme measures to save her life.

Riley became a bilateral amputee below the knee.

It’s been a journey and a challenging recovery, to say the least. Books and resources to help Riley transition to her new normal were hard to come by.

So Riley’s grandmother, Dana Gosson, decided to make her own children’s book about Riley, who they call RiRo.

With the help of Mary Babbles, an elementary art teacher in Syracuse, each page was illustrated and then printed by Dupli Envelope & Graphics.

From left to right: Dana Gosson, Riley Rose Gosson (RiRo), Mary Babbles

Recently, Dana surprised her son JT, her now daughter-in-law Irisa, and little Riley with the book.

It’s called “RiRo’s Incredible Feat.”

The Gosson’s hope the book will help other children process and understand injuries like RiRo’s.

“I wanted Riley to be able to introduce herself to her classmates and friends and have them understand what was happening.”

dana gosson

They also hope it will help Riley overcome each new unfamiliar obstacle.

“A lot of kids cannot wrap their brains around it,” said Irisa Gosson, Riley’s mom. “Riley coming to terms, it took almost the whole summer.”

Now, four-year-old Riley is tumbling, cheering, and thriving. Just like little RiRo is in the book.

Her family is grateful they get to watch her do it all.

That’s my silver lining. That I still get to play with my daughter every day and watch her grow up. There may be a few speed bumps here and there but it’s something we get over and we just keep moving forward as a family.

JT Gosson – Riley’s Dad

“My hope is that she will know that she has a story to tell and her story is continuing and that she is complete and has wonderful things to look forward to in this life and she can be anything she wants to be,” Dana Gosson.

Donations from the book will go to two charity groups.

One is a special needs cheer and tumble group Riley is part of.

The other is a group in Charlotte, NC sponsoring kids with special needs to help make their lives easier. They sponsored Riley in the past.

If you’d like to purchase your own copy of “RiRo’s Incredible Feat” email DanaJC2@aol.com.

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