Riley’s Dance Foundation, which was established in December 2013 to honor and remember the unique and special life of five-year-old Riley Kogen, is proud to announce it has become the first family fund of its kind at NJ Sharing Network Foundation.NJ Sharing Network Foundation is the philanthropic arm of NJ Sharing Network, the non-profit organization responsible for the recovery of organs and tissue for nearly 5,000 New Jerseyans awaiting life-saving transplants.
The Kogen family established Riley’s Dance to help improve the quality of life for individuals who are waiting for an organ, and those who have recently received a life-saving transplant. Riley’s Dance will also provide assistance to families in need of significant medical coverage and those pursuing financial aid.
“Riley was the most gentle and kind hearted little girl that ever walked this earth,” said her father, Mitch Kogen. “Her smile alone could light up a room. She had the most infectious laugh and brightest blue eyes you have ever seen. She lived for her friends, family, and most of all her little brother Connor. She loved to spend her afternoons playing dress up, hula hooping, and dancing.”
Riley passed away on December 19, 2013, two days after her fifth birthday. Her family made the courageous decision to donate her organs. Riley gave the gift of life to two women who received her kidneys. Her final act of love is what inspired her family to create Riley’s Dance.
“We felt the gift of life Riley could give others was something special we could do to ensure that Riley’s memory lives on,” said Riley’s mother, Ali Kogen. “This was the start of Riley’s Dance. We will forever celebrate her life as if she were still here. She made an impact on all that knew her and her memory will live on in all of us.”
Elisse Glennon, executive director of the NJ Sharing Network Foundation noted the unique impact of this new program.
“The gift of life that Riley gave to two people is priceless,” Glennon said. “The assistance that Riley’s Dance will be able to provide to a family with a loved one who is waiting for a transplant, or someone who just received the gift of life, is also immeasurable. The NJ Sharing Network Foundation is truly honored to be able to partner with the Kogen family to continue honoring Riley’s legacy.”
To make a contribution to Riley’s Dance, visit www.RileysDance.org. To learn more, get involved and register as an organ and tissue donor, visit www.NJSharingNetwork.org or call NJ Sharing Network at 1-800-742-7365.