Girl, 8, awaiting life-saving heart transplant surprised with tickets to Indy Justin Bieber concert
Fellow Riley kid gives Katelyn Newell tickets
Last Updated: 265 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - An 8-year-old girl awaiting a life-saving heart transplant will have the chance to see her favorite teen idol in concert, thanks to a fellow fan and Riley kid.
RTV6 profiled Katelyn Newell last week, after a teacher at Deming Elementary in Terre Haute raised nearly $10,000 to help the girl's family afford the medical and other expenses that come with a heart transplant.
Newell, who has Complex Congenital Heart Disease, was born without a valve in her heart, and has undergone three heart surgeries at Indiana University Health's Riley Hospital for Children, beginning when she was just nine days old.
While living at the hospital awaiting a transplant, Newell, who is a huge Justin Bieber fan, has decorated her room with posters of the pop star, including a life-sized cutout that doctors often pose with for pictures.
After seeing RTV6's piece on Newell, Alexandra Traycoff, 24, a fellow Bieber fan who was also born with a heart defect, offered to surprise the girl with two tickets to see the heartthrob perform in Indianapolis in July.
Traycoff said she ordered two tickets to the concert, but ended up with four. When she saw the news story, she said she knew right away what she wanted to do.
"She has a congenital heart defect as well, and I've had a similar heart defect since I was born. So that kind of made a good connection there," Traycoff said. "I felt like I should do something for her so that she'd have something to look forward to."
RTV6 reporter Tanya Spencer helped plan Tuesday's surprise with Traycoff and Newell's mom, Robin.
Before the big reveal, Newell's hospital room and the hallway outside filled with family members, doctors and nurses, all anxiously awaiting the surprise.
When Newell was handed a Bieber gift bag, she immediately looked inside to find a Bieber book and two concert tickets.
She was overwhelmed by the attention, but a huge smile spread across her face.
"When you called me and with the email, I started crying. It's a dream come true for her, I'm sure," Robin Newell said. "Once she sees him in concert, she's going to love it. I think it's going to give her something to look forward to."
Newell, who has been living at Riley for three months, can't leave the hospital until she gets a new heart.
The family is hoping that Bieber's people hear about Newell's story, and that the pop star will consider visiting her in the hospital.
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