Deaconess Riley Hospital – Riley Champion to get unique aviation experience as guest of Republic Airways

On Thursday, August 8, Riley Champion Connor Schuelke will experience an exclusive flight around Indianapolis with Republic Airways Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy. Connor, 14, from South Bend,expressed his love of flying and his desire to be a pilot at this year’s Republic Airways Plane Pull Gala, which benefits Riley Children’s Foundation and other local children’s hospitals. LIFT will be hosting Connor for a tour of the facility, a short flight and a flight simulation.

Who: Connor Schuelke, 2019 Riley Champion. 

Connor battled cancer in 2013 and 2014 after a CT scan revealed a tumor in his leg. Riley Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon Daniel Wurtz, M.D., diagnosed metastatic Ewing sarcoma, a rare cancer that occurs in and around the bones. Under the care of Dr. Wurtzand Riley Pediatric Oncologist James Croop, M.D., Ph.D., Connor underwent chemotherapy from early March to June, then hip replacement surgery, and chemotherapy again through December 2014. A later surgery revised the hip replacement. While his health continues to be monitored closely, he is back to pursuing his dreams.

What: Republic Airways LIFT Academy will provide Connorwith a unique flight experience and private tour of their facility,among other exclusive aviation experiences.

When: 7:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, August 8, 2019 – Flight to depart LIFT at approximately 8:15 and land at LIFT at 9:15

Where: LIFT Academy Hangar

2753 Cargo Drive

Indianapolis, IN 46241

Why: Connor has expressed his love of flying and his desire to become a pilot during the annual Republic Airways Plane Pull Gala. Republic Airways has organized this unique experience exclusively for Connor.

For more information about Riley Champions, visit

About Riley Children’s Foundation

Riley Children’s Foundation is the fundraising arm of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health and the founding organization that opened Riley Hospital in 1924. Today Riley Hospital is recognized as one of the best children’s hospitals in the nation and is the only comprehensive children’s research hospital in the state of Indiana. Be the Hope NOW: The Campaign for Kids aims to raise $175 million by June 2020 to transform Riley Hospital through three high-priority programs: Pediatric Research and Patient Care, Maternity and Newborn Health and Family Support Programs. Riley Children’s Foundation also funds Camp Riley and the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home and Billie Lou Wood Visitor Center. For more information, visit and follow us on FacebookInstagram and Twitter @RileyKids.

About Republic Airways

Founded in 1974, Republic Airways is one of the largest regional airlines in the U.S. Republic operates a fleet of nearly 200 Embraer 170/175 aircraft and offers scheduled passenger service with about 1,000 daily flights to 100 cities in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Central America. The airline provides fixed-fee flights operated under its codeshare partners’ brands: American Eagle, Delta Connection and United Express. The airline employs more than 6,000 aviation professionals. Learn more at

In May 2018, Republic opened the Leadership In Flight Training (LIFT) Academy, a commercial aviation pilot training school in Indianapolis. LIFT uses state-of-the-art training technologies that combine flight, flight simulator, online and in-classroom training. Graduates are guaranteed a job as a First Officer at Republic. Learn more at