FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT)- 10-year-old Robby McNary if Fort Wayne was publicly recognized at Perry Hill Elementary Thursday afternoon as a 2019 Riley Champion.
"Being in front of the whole school is quite nerve racking, and it's really an honor to be a Riley kid," said McNary.
Robby first went to Riley Hospital for Children a few days after he was born due to a rare congenital heart defect calledtetralogy of Fallot. He's had three open heart surgeries.
"I've been to Riley 3 times, well more, but it's an honor to be a Riley kid and how awesome the doctors and nurses are," said McNary.
Riley Champions presented by Kroger is a program that honors Riley patients who have inspired communities with their bravery and commitment to help others despite overcoming medical challenges.
"Robby was nominated by a child life specialist. We actually met Robby this summer at a video shoot at the hospital. He was having trouble swallowing some pills and they were filming him and even though he couldn't go through with the procedure he was still willing to share that on film and his child-life specialist was very impressed whit his maturity and willingness to share his story and advocate for other kids, so that was why she nominated him," said Riley Children's Foundation Communications Coordinator Olivia Mozzi.
McNary is one of 8 champions across Indiana who will be ambassadors for Riley hospital for Children. He will participate in several special events throughout the year.
"If you are interested in nominating a Riley Champion for our 2020 class, you can go to rileykids.org and nominations are available," said Mozzi.
Advice Robby gives to other Riley for Children patients?
"Always fight, do not give up."