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.
"I feel like I can really relate to Katelyn in this situation, medically, and I was curious to know if Katelyn had tickets to go see Justin Bieber this July?" Traycoff wrote in an email to RTV6. "I have two extra tickets and would be super honored to give them to her!! It would be an amazing experience/honor for me to do something like this to another Riley patient."
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 inside that, two concert tickets.
She was overwhelmed by the attention, but a huge smile spread across her face.
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.
Newell, who has been living at Riley for three months, can't leave the hospital until she gets a new heart.