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Riley Hospital, family launch grief support app

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health has launched a new, first-of-its-kind digital tool for grieving families.

It’s a website and app designed to support anyone at any point in their grief journey. The idea came from a family who knows all too well what grieving parents are going through.

Peyton Belling passed away at Riley Hospital for Children in 2015 after battling leukemia. His parents Eric and Molly eventually took part in the grief therapy offered by Riley’s bereavement team but they recognized gaps in that support.

So the Belling family, along with the Peyton’s Promise Inc. Foundation, linked up with the bereavement team to create the grief support app. There’s a unique journaling feature, spaces to store memories and even a way to release a lantern in the digital space. It took two and a half years to develop and fine-tune, but it is now available. It’s not just for Riley families, but for anyone experiencing the loss of a child anywhere in the world.

“When you’re in the hospital there’s a lot of resources, right? There’s chaplains, nurses, social workers, doctors. When you leave the hospital, the resources aren’t always there. You have the family and friends, but grief doesn’t always stick to those availabilities of your friends and families or when your counselor is available, so we wanted to fill that gap. That 24-7 gap. If you wake up at three o’clock in the morning crying, because you lost your child, what do you do?” Eric Belling said.

The Belling family says the Peyton’s Promise Inc. Foundation they created after their son’s death is focused on providing tangible support for families and that means most of their efforts have been limited to Indiana. The app provides a way for them to support many more people and from a distance.