It may not have been Lightning McQueen, but a visit to Akron Children’s Hospital by IndyCar Series driver Sebastian Saavedra, complete with a Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course pace car, revved up plenty of excitement from staff and patients last week.
The visit was part of the Racing for Kids program, which has been coming to Akron Children’s since 1990.
Now in its 24th year, the mission of Racing for Kids is to focus public awareness and funding on the healthcare needs of children and child health institutions by using the popularity of motor sports.
The organization has raised more than $5.2 million for children’s hospitals and health institutions across the country. Akron Children’s has received a donation in years past.
This year, Saavedra, along with Racing for Kids spokesperson and former driver Robbie Buhl, went to patient rooms, took pictures, signed autographs and handed out hats and posters before heading down I-71 for a weekend of racing at Mid-Ohio.
Bridgestone Firestone Trust Fund is a sponsor of Racing for Kids and its mascot, Fire Hawk, also visited patients and gave away hats. Children were also allowed to climb in and take pictures with the pace car parked at the hospital’s main entrance.