Most folks attending the Indy 500 will arrive by car, bus or even shuttle service.
But not MaKenzi Rooksberry, 11, of Jasonville, Ind., and Johliel Austin, 14, of Indianapolis.
These Riley kids will join Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, in the IU Health LifeLine helicopter, take in the city from thousands of feet and land on Turn One at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The star QB and his two Riley friends will then buckle up in an official Indy 500 pace car, take a lap around the track and deliver the green flag that signals the start of the race. This will mark the first time that Luck and both kids have attended “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”
MaKenzi was selected by Riley at IU Health for this once-in-a-lifetime experience for her strength and courage—traits she shares with all pediatric patients. She will board the very same medical transport helicopter that raced her to Riley at IU Health on a wintry day in 2013, after her sled collided with a moving vehicle.
Johliel, an 8th grader at KIPP Indianapolis College Preparatory School, will participate as a representative of Change the Play, the popular health and wellness program Luck developed with Riley at IU Health experts and that rolled out in schools this year.