The long awaited return of Racing For Kids to the Hill was all the more thrilling and enjoyable this year because of all the obstacles that needed to be overcome to bring it back for its 15th year! Uncertainty over the pandemic, a fire in our building the week before – we had a lot […]
Mikhail Aleshin, personable INDYCAR racer for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, made an extended Racing For Kids® pit stop Thursday at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, to entertain an eager group of patients at the highly regarded Phoenix medical facility.
The Russian native had a busy schedule as he visited patients in their rooms, engaged a lively group in the ”Zone” playroom and then made a 30 minute co-host appearance on one of the hospital’s close circuit TV shows.
But first Aleshin presented the hospital with a specially equipped, IV-friendly Radio Flyer wagon designed to transport bed-ridden patients to special events, the playroom, doctor appointments, and medical treatments. The wagons are called “Fregin’s Flyers” for the Canadian philanthropist and amateur racer Doug Fregin, who is underwriting the program.
Assisting Aleshin in the presentation were Racing For Kid Executive Director, Pat Wright, and Founder Dr. Bill Pinsky. Accepting for the hospital was Child Life Director, Betsy Rosebrugh.
Promoting Saturday Night’s Desert Diamond West Valley Phoenix Grand Prix, Aleshin fielded questions about his racing, with the most frequent one being: “What is the fastest you have driven on track? The answer,”243 mph,” drew wide-eyed reactions from his young audience.
Signing autographs, handing out Racing For Kids baseball caps, Aleshin eventually worked his way into the hospital’s closed circuit TV studio to Co-Host the Thursday Trivia Show with Matt Bryson, Phoenix Children’s Child Life Specialist.
Youngsters in the studios and those phoning in from their rooms answered trivia questions which Aleshin delivered with prizes for wining answers.
With a wry sense of humor, Aleshin asked one young girl calling in from her bed: “Do you understand Russian?”
“No,” she replied.
“Well I am going to ask the next question is Russian,” he laughed. “Then I will give you the choices for your answer in English. If you get the right answer then you will know Russian.”
The young girl got the right answer to the enthusiastic applause of the viewing audience and Aleshin.
Making sure each child he encountered got his personal attention and autograph, Aleshin then extracted a promise from his new fans that they’d be watching NBC Sports Saturday to cheer him on as he raced at The Phoenix International Raceway.
Waving goodbye, he hustled to his car and a quick trip the Phoenix race track to discuss strategy and set up choices with his engineers in anticipation of Friday’s first practice.