When Racing For Kids first met Dylan in the summer of 2012, he was a 7 year old out-patient at Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He and his parents, John and Deanna and his big sister, Emily came to our Kids at the Track event at the Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle where he met IndyCar […]
Since 1990, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital has been a favorite stop for Racing For Kids®. As the Official Charity of The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Pro Celebrity Race for 26 years, Racing For Kids® annually led a celebrity laden trip to Miller before racing activity began on the streets of Long Beach.
So Thursday’s program at Miller Hospital with INDYCAR Racer Zach Veach and IMSA Weather Tech Sportscar Series’ Christina Nielsen had a warm, familiar feel to it as the two engaged several dozen patients in two playrooms and bed-to-bed visits.
Zach, who races for Andretti Autosport, is a rising star in the INDYCAR Series and the 2016 Racing For Kids Driver of The Year. Christina is the 2016-2017 IMSA GTD Champion and the first woman to win a major sportscar series championship in North America.
The two added their names to a list of prominent figures who have visited Miller Hospital before racing in Long Beach. That list includes racers Al Unser,Jr, Jimmy Vasser, Kyle Petty, Eddie Lawson along with movie, sports and entertainment figures such as Cameron Diaz, William Shatner, Patrick Dempsey, Adam Corolla, Rick Schroeder and John Elway
For their part, Zach and Christina brought a comfortable, easy manner to the young Miller patients some of whom are dealing with protracted treatments and medical procedures. But those cares were far from the minds of the youngsters during the 2 hour stop as the drivers personally engaged each child answering questions and talking about the weekend racing excitement on the challenging Long Beach street course.
Signing autographs, handing out racing memorabilia and posing for pictures, the personable duo generated smiles where there had been none from the kids and their siblings and parents. Visits from celebrities such as Zach and Christina are an important part of each child’s recovery therapy, giving them hope and brightening their days.
So after making sure to see every available child, Veach and Nielsen had to leave and head to the race track to meet with their engineers and layout strategy for their important weekend races. But they left behind 100 new fans each whose energy just might provide that competitive edge Zach and Christina need for a podium finish this weekend.