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 […]
Verizon INDYCAR star Ryan Hunter-Reay led a trio of drivers on a Racing For Kids® pit stop at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL Thursday.
Hunter-Reay, who lives in Fort Lauderdale, considers All Children’s his home hospital. This was his 10th visit to the hospital in the last eleven years. The Andretti Autosport driver will race in Sunday’s Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.
Joining the IndyCar veteran were Mazda Road To Indy rookie drivers, Michael d’Orlando and Sabre Cook, who will compete in this weekend’s USF 2000 season opener. It was the first Racing For Kids® visit for both young racers who drive for Team Benik.
The day was brightened for the youngsters as the drivers talked about the demands of auto racing and this weekend’s competition while autographing Racing For Kids baseball style hats, hero cards, and coloring books.
These visits are a very important part of each youngster’s recovery therapy. That was evident by the smiles and laughter generated by the racers’ room to room stops.
“Where do you live?” a smiling little girl asked Hunter-Reay. “I live in Ft. Lauderdale. So this is my home race,” he answered. “I have finished second and Third. Now I have to win one of these,” he chuckled.
“I love doing these visits.” the 2014 Indy 500 Champion offered. “These kids are amazing.”
Like Hunter-Reay, Cook and d’Orlando found the All Children’s patients quiet at first, but could tell they were also thrilled by the racing stories and special gifts they received. As the two left a little boy’s room they heard his mother exclaim, “That was just awesome, wasn’t it?”
Besides brightening the day for youngsters battling serious medical issues, Racing For Kids visits are often tonic for their parents as well who see their children smiling and happy often for the first time in days and weeks.