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Riley Hospital for Children holds first Indy 500 Party since 2019

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Kids at Riley Hospital for Children got a chance to experience the magic of the Indy 500 when drivers came to greet the patients and their families.

Eight drivers came to support the kids and their families as they navigate difficult pediatric health concerns.

“This has been a dream come true because I am a huge Indy 500 fan,” said 19-year-old Caleb Abbott.

Abbott has been to the Indy 500 six times in his 19 years. Being in the hospital means that might not be possible this year, so this event was even more special for him.

“It’s amazing. It’s one of the best experiences you’ll ever have,” Abbott said. “Whenever we go we sit at the finish line. You see it all there.”

The drivers signed autographs, played with the kids, and joined in the family’s support system for the day.

“I got some of their signatures and I am just waiting on one more,” said 9-year-old Ena Stewert. “I was feeling happy because I was wanting to do this ever since I started liking cars.”

“I used to really struggle with it because I’ve been so grateful in my life. I’ve been really healthy,” said Simon Pagenaud, a French IndyCar driver.

“I’ve never really had any issues so when you have that much luck in life it’s tough to see that others don’t have that kind of luck. But as a parent now I see it differently, I see it as giving support and being there for them,” Pagenaud added.

The 500 Festival Princesses were also at the party and were there to play with the kids and provide support for the families.

This is the first time the event was held since 2019 due to the pandemic.