Lori Stanley started going to Riley Hospital for Children when she was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 14.
“I grew up spending a lot of time at Riley as a patient,” Stanley said of Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease. “I wanted to be a nurse just like my nurses. That sparked my passion for it.”
Now a registered nurse in organ transplant and neurosurgery at Riley, the Carmel resident is in her second year as an Indianapolis Colts cheerleader. She and her husband, Alex, have owned Books & Brews in Carmel for more than a year.
Stanley, 26, said the business plays host to at least one nonprofit fundraiser every month, sometimes as many as two or three.
“We try to keep it as local as possible. We’ve done anything from the Humane Society to the Milk Bank,” she said.
Stanley’s work as a nurse and her volunteer work was instrumental in her teammates selecting her as the first Indianapolis Colts Woman of Year.
“The NFL has never done this before for their cheerleaders. It’s something that our coach wanted to start and pioneer,” Stanley said. “I was very humbled and flattered by the comments made by my teammates who voted for me.”
Stanley said the Colts wanted to create an award for cheerleaders similar to the Walter Payton Man of the Year honor that recognizes the football players’ community efforts.
“Not a lot of people even know we have another job,” she said. “It’s great to have our community recognize what we do.”
Stanley, who still gets chemo infusions every eight weeks to treat her Crohn’s, also volunteers with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. She is taking classes at Indiana Wesleyan University to become a family nurse practitioner.