Indy Lights Series Racers Drop in on Golisano Children’s Hospital

Three stars of the Indy Lights racing series took time Sept. 1 to cheer up children and represent Racing for Kids at the Galisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester. Racers Neil Alberico, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach met patients and their families with the hope of creating new fans.  The three racers signed personal racing cards, took pictures with children, and spoke about their upcoming race Saturday as well as racing in general.

LaToya Burks said her son, Gary, enjoyed meeting the drivers and thought the visits served as a great introduction to auto racing.

“I don’t hear a lot about that sport,” she said. “So it gives kids a chance to take interest in something they wouldn’t know otherwise.”

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The racers are in town for the Indy Lights race at Watkins Glen International Speedway on Sept. 3. The race is one of the highlights of the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Watkins Glen from Sept. 1-4. Neil, Kyle and Zach will race the day before the main IndyCar Grand Prix at the Glen on Sept. 4. Neil Alberico represents Carlin Motorsports. Kyle Kaiser represents Juncos Racing and Zach Veach represents Belardi Auto Racing.

The three drivers visited with children in the hospital’s treatment center and Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. Zach Veach said these visits are good for racers and children alike.

“It’s always nice to see kids light up when we meet them and bring a little happiness to their day,” Veach said. “It puts us in a good mind set before a race.”

Therapists have praised such visits because they give children something positive to distract them from their medical situation. Distraction techniques are an important way to ease anxieties and lessen fears for hospitalized patients and their families. Events like these are used to make the hospital experience a more positive one for children of all ages by offering developmental, educational, and emotional support. They help children cope with hospitalization and promote the continuity of normal, daily childhood activities.

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Golisano Children’s Hospital employs more than 200 pediatric specialists and provides a spectrum of care that spans more than 40 specialty areas, serving the more than 85,000 children and their families each year. It serves as the referral center for all seriously ill or injured children from the 17-county Finger Lakes region and beyond. Golisano provides comprehensive care for children and their families, educate future pediatricians and pediatric specialists, and perform progressive research that will lead to the medical breakthroughs of tomorrow.

Racing for Kids is a Detroit-based national charity that uses the popularity of Motorsports to focus public awareness on the health needs of children. It was founded in 1989 and charity drivers have visited more than 28,000 children during more than 550 hospital visits around the world. It has raised more than $6 million for the hospitals visited and other children’s health systems.

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