Riley Patient Bailey Hunsberger Will Bring Us All the Action, Live from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
When the Indy 500 takes off on May 26, Bailey Hunsberger will already be a regular behind the scenes at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Bailey, a Junior at Indiana University studying microbiology, will act as Roving Reporter from Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, interviewing drivers, taking photos and updating social media throughout the exciting race events this May.
“I’m SO excited about it,” says Bailey. “It will be the first time I get to go to the Indianapolis 500. My family and I are big race fans and listen to it every year, but I've never gotten to go.”
Acting as Roving Reporter is an honor, but Bailey’s real success story is off the track. A Riley patient since 1992, Bailey has a long history of beating the odds. Born with aortic stenosis, a defective aortic valve that allows blood to back up into the lungs, Bailey had her first open-heart surgery, when she was just 3 days old. Her next surgery was just before her fourth birthday. Then, in the summer of 2004, Bailey began descending into heart failure. Dr. Mark Turrentine, director of Pediatric Cardiothoracic Surgery at Riley at IU Health and a professor of surgery at the Indiana University School of Medicine, added her name to a heart transplant waiting list.
In the meantime, Dr. Turrentine knew they needed to act in order to keep Bailey alive until a heart could be found. He applied for use of the Berlin Heart Pediatric Ventricular Assist Device from Germany, and Bailey became the 3rd patient at Riley to receive the implant.
First used in the U.S. in 2000, the Berlin Heart takes over the heart's work of pumping blood, drastically improving a pediatric patient’s chances of surviving until a heart transplant can be performed and sometimes eliminating the need for a transplant.
You can find Bailey at IMS on May 16, Pole Day (May 18), Carb Day (May 24) and of course Race Day on May 26.
Look for her live tweets @bails_huns and follow all the action on #RileyattheRace. Bailey will give up to the minute accounts from inside garages and pits, post interviews with drivers and of course exclusive photos of the greatest month in racing!