12-year-old Indianapolis girl named Riley ambassador

Published: .
Updated: .

An Indianapolis girl who has attended more than 100 Riley Dance Marathons has been selected as the state's ambassador for the Riley Children's Foundation.

Riley Lesh was born three-and-a-half months premature and spent 90 days in the Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health NICU.

"In those 90 days, I had heart surgery, nine blood transfusions and apparently had trouble deciding which ventilator I liked best," Riley said.

Now 12 years old, Riley has attended and shared her story at 139 Riley Dance Marathons at high schools and colleges over the past seven years. The Children's Miracle Network says that is the most any child has ever attended.

"I am an only child, but I never feel that way, thanks to my friends at Dance Marathons," Riley said.

"She is very outgoing and she has kind of a bubbly personality. Kind of a quirky sense of humor and a huge heart," said Riley's mother, Julie.

Riley has also made more than 100 blankets for the Riley NICU and this past year, raised more than $2,150 for Riley Hospital by selling loom bracelets she made at dance marathons and other events.

"I wouldn't be here if Riley didn't help me," Riley said.

As part of being named the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Champion for Indiana, Riley and her family will visit Walt Disney World and Washington D.C. in November. As part of the trips, Riley will speak to others, inspiring them to support children's hospitals.