Former Colts Cheerleader Finds Calling In The ER

It was like a scene right out of a musical. The Colts Cheerleaders wrapped up their Valentine’s Day visit to Riley Hospital for Children with a live performance in the studio of the Child Life Zone.

Dressed as Disney princesses, they sang and danced while the act was broadcast live throughout the building.

As Sable belted out “Let It Go” from Frozen, a beautiful blonde nurse comes leaping out of the control room to join them. Sable hands her the mic and she takes over – singing and dancing along almost seamlessly.

It was unplanned, but it was perfect. So perfect you might think she was a cheerleader herself because, well – she was.

Lauren Madden grew up in Greenwood, went to Ball State, and cheered for the Colts for three seasons.

Performing was always in her blood.

“I was on the Broadway tour of The Sound of Music when I was nine years old with Marie Osmond. So, I’ve been dancing and singing forever.”

But medicine was also in her blood.

“Nursing was always in the back of my mind because my dad was an ER doctor and my mom was a surgical tech. So, I always enjoyed hearing their stories at the dinner table about what went on in their day.”

Lauren was working at a bank in mortgage lending and cheering for the Colts when the medical talk suddenly took a personal turn.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer in July of 2011 and my mom was diagnosed in January of 2012.”

It caused Lauren to rethink her life.

“I was going on appointments with them and I kind of realized that I needed to grow up and figure out what I really wanted to do with my life. I was just really drawn to the nurses and how they treated my family. And it was like, ‘Ok. This is what I need to do.’”

She took online classes at Marian University and got her prerequisites out of the way. But before she could enroll in nursing school, she lost her dad to a rare form of cancer.

“I was at the Simon Cancer Center where my dad passed away and I was like, ‘I want to work here.’ I thought for sure I wanted to work there. And then I was like, ‘Ok, I really like kids. Maybe I could work at Riley in the hemonc floor.’ But then ER was just so much fun and my dad always talked about it and I’m like, ‘Maybe I want to do ER.’”

She ended up following in her dad’s footsteps.

“He would be very surprised that I did,” she says. “I think he probably thought that he scared me away from the ER just by telling me all those crazy stories and in reality, he drew me towards it.”

In December of 2015, Lauren was working in the emergency room at St. Francis while cheering for the Colts when her worlds collided.

“Every year that I was a Colts cheerleader I got to do the Riley appearance where we would go and sing Christmas carols,” she says.

“But the last year was a little bit different because I actually was a nurse and I’ve always loved working with kids.”

She felt like she was in the right place at the right time. All she needed was the right opportunity.

“From the moment that we all walked in, I was like, ‘Ok. I’ve got to figure out how I’m going to get a job here. I don’t know what I’m going to do, but I’m going to make it happen.’”

As the visit flew by, so did her possibilities.

“It was like, ‘Ok, Lauren. It’s the last second. You’re about to walk out of this place.’ And I was like, ‘I’m a nurse. I’d really like to work here.’ I think I just blurted it out loud. And one of the doctors heard me and he was like, ‘Well, where do you work now?’ And I told him.”

He called the nurse manager from the ER department down to talk to her. A month later, Madden had her dream job at Riley. And it’s been everything she hoped it would be.

“I don’t feel like I save a life every single day, but I know that I impact a life every day.”

And even though she retired after the 2015 season, Lauren says she’s still a cheerleader at heart.

“Some of my coworkers give me a hard time for being a cheerleader because I’m always smiling, I’m always in a good mood,” she says.

They’re qualities that serve her well as a cheerleader and a nurse.

“Being able to put a smile on somebody’s face, that’s definitely a cheerleader and I think I’m still a cheerleader in some kind of way.”

The kids at Riley found themselves a cheerleader.

And in the process, a cheerleader found her calling.