This page is no longer accepting donations
Raised so far

70 % to goal

Riley Children's Foundation

Step It Up! Jesse VanOsdol

Donations as of October 10, 2015:

$70.00 Raised Offline
$10,366.68 Raised Online
$10,436.68 Total Raised

Step It Up! Jesse VanOsdol

Hi! Thanks for stopping by my page. My name is Jesse VanOsdol, and I'd like to tell you a little about my story and why I am walking across America to raise money for Riley. I'm excited about my goal of $15,000! It may seem like a lot, but don't be put off by the goal. Every single dollar helps. Even if you can only give $1, that gets me closer to my goal.To Follow me on my blog, here's the link: Step It Up!

Bonfire Gone Bad

In June 2010 I was burned on 15 percent of my body in a bonfire while attempting to light a large and damp burn pile, which towered over my head. Being that it was damp, I unwisely stepped onto a lower part of the burn pile to pour gasoline on top. You should never, ever try to light a fire with gas, as I found out when a hidden ember ignited the explosive burn pile. All at once I felt intense heat and fear as flames shriveled up my legs and torched my left arm.

I ran straight to a dive and a roll as I heard my friend Ben Lewis yelling “STOP, DROP and ROLL!” God’s earth quenched my fiery feet: with adrenaline pumping I stood to find all my skin on my left arm from elbow to fingers hanging about about six inches down. As I came to my senses, I felt a painful burning and I looked down to see my shorts were smoldering. I instinctively ran and dove in a nearby creek. My friends called 911 and soon the first responders brought me to Wishard Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana to be treated for first to third degree burns.

Pain Is Not My Friend

That night is a painful blur to me; a sweet nurse had the more than unpleasant job of debriding me. I learned the meaning of that word the hard way by having the burnt skin and bubbly blisters scrubbed off my body with a wet cloth. Despite the caring focus of the nurse, it was a night I will never forget. The following days consisted of multiple trips to the debriding tanks at Riley Hospital for Children, of which I developed a teeth-grinding fear. Thankfully, Riley's staff consists of heroes who helped me overcome every obstacle. Tony, Kelly, Angela, Kristin, and so many others would not let me quit and did everything they could to help me.

Daily Routine

My everyday consisted of multiple IV changes, a hospital bed, and an extremely high- calorie, high-protein diet to help my skin heal. Every day, my mom and sister would  bring me protein shakes. Physical therapists came to help me stretch and work my skin so it would not grow in too tight--another painful process. I had my mother and father, Jane and Mark Vanosdol, my sister Amber, and my good friends Ben Lewis and Kaylee Reeh constantly by my side giving me loving support the whole way. So many others came and supported me in the hospital:  my grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, friends and my pastors. I learned that across many states and churches, people were praying for me.

A Special Patient

All of my future plans were suddenly in question. I was supposed to leave in just four weeks for automotive school in Florida, but that was now looking almost impossible. On a really hard day, I met a special friend in the room next to mine. She was only four years old and she had already been on the burn ward for three months when I arrived! She encouraged me and made me think that if she, whose burns were so much worse than mine, had the courage to endure, then I could too. (I am happy to tell you she is home now.) I will never forget her.

Answer to Prayer

After only seven days I was miraculously able to start to walk without assistance. My body was healing freakishly quick, and I was blessed that I didn't have to have my scheduled surgery to get skin grafts. Between the hospital's great staff, family, friends, and God's healing hand, I was able to be released from the hospital in just seven days to continue recovering at home, with outpatient care.

Three weeks later, I had my bandages completely removed and now just had to wear support bands. I was even cleared to leave for school. I had one week to prepare!


It's now been 15 months since I was burned. I have earned my mechanics certification from Universal Technical Institute in Kissimmee, Florida and am currently getting additional training with Universal Technical Institute and Mercedes-Benz in California. I will graduate in November 2011 from this training.

A goal that I have set for myself is that right after graduation, I am going to leave on a fundraising walk for Riley Hospital. I want to walk from Seal Beach, California to Jacksonville, Florida. I am planning on beginning this hike on November 17, 2011. I think it will take me from four to six months.

I am doing this to raise money for the patients on the burn unit who are there right now and who will be there in the future. Riley was so important to my health and healing. But, as my parents reminded me, it's not just me. I had an older sister who was at Riley, Larissa, who died of a heart defect when she was 11-days old. My cousin's daughter, Alexandria, received loving care at Riley until she also passed away. I've also had other extended family members whose children have been successfully treated at Riley. It holds a special place in my family's heart.

How Can You Help?

If you would like to help me on my hike across Amereica by donating to my walk, I would be so grateful! I am trying to fund the trip myself by selling my car to cover my expenses as I walk. The proceeds you donate will go to the Burn Unit at Riley. No amount is too little or too big. Even $1 will help me reach my goal. I would also appreciate your prayers for a safe trip. If you would like to keep up with me as I am walking, here is the link to my blog.  Step It Up! I will be updating it as I walk.

I already have some friends whose little girls are going to hold a bake sale to raise money to donate. That makes me so excited that these kids would do this for me!

Thanks for taking the time to read this and for considering supporting me!

Step It Up!












Comment Donation
Granger Christian School Yea, Jesse! Great job on your walk!
Charlene Tingwald
Amber and Andrew I am so proud of you, Jesse! You did it!!
Cindy Gladding God Bless and Keep You. Great Job!
Don Rowe Proud of your accomplishments!
Mary Haemmerle Congrats on a amazing job!!
Stacy Bernhardt Way to go!! You are truely an inspiration!
Charlie and Julie Bow Wrap it up and get to work already!
Janet & Wil VanOsdol Awesome job Jesse! To God be the glory!
Lois Gardner Good job Jesse!
The Miller Family Way to go Jesse!
Marissa Graham This is amazing!!
Jason & Holly Way to go Jesse!
Robert and Catherine Herrmann Grandma and I are so proud of you! Step it up!
Brad Brenner - Jesse, congratulations on making a diference.
Amanda & Josh Dykema This is awesome, Jesse!
Ashlee Kirk I knew your sister; what you're doing is great!
Ellen Kelly WOOO Jesse!
The Hoff's God Bless Jesse...a shining light for all to see
Beth Jones What an inspiring thing you are doing, Jesse! PTL!
Chris Crowley Great job Jesse! Your efforts will help so many.
Jill Pilz (also known as Jillian) What a blessing you are! Gone, but never forgotten
Christine Leaver Inspiring. congratualions! chris australia
Valerie Jesse, my mom Jill told me your story. God bless!
Ted and Anna Kaufman
Aussie cyclist Jesse, hope this helps a little.
Clayton and Lisa Schwind Keep Walking. Careful eating those AL hamburgers.
anthony rivera jesse her something to help you brother short bus
Tom & Ramona Clark
Rhonda Palmer Cheering you on!!
Blake Pridgen Great stuff, Jessie!
David Pitre Right on!
Don and Judith McDowell In honor of Erin Rosenberry, currently at Riley
Gary Mitchell God Bless
Heather Harvey
Michelle Hebron
Chuck & Ruth Hiar
Lori Godspeed~
Don and Mary Ann Kraemer Holiday Greetings from Southern California!
Tom and Pauline Atwater
Lucas Schmid Way to Step it UP, Jesse! God Speed!
William and Dolly Dee Jesse, best wishes for a safe, successful journey
Girls of Grace Run w/endurance the race before you... Heb 12:1
Girls of Grace and Parents and Friends Thanks to the Proverbs 31 women for their support

Donation Summary

Raised Offline
Raised Online
Total Raised
Report offensive content