Since 1989, Racing for Kids has visited more than 25,000 kids in 500 hospitals around the world. The organization invites professional drivers to visit children who are in hospitals in the cities and towns hosting racing events.
With Honda Grand Prix in downtown St. Petersburg, Racing for Kids representatives Ryan Hunter-Reay and Sage Karam paid a visit to some special fans on Thursday morning.
At around 9:30 a.m., just outside the main entrance to All Children's Hospital, patients played in and around an IndyCar on display. Some of the kids were in hospital garb – slippers and gowns – and the car brought smiles and laughter. The reasons that brought the youngsters to the hospital seemed to be a distant thought, at least for a few hours.
The enthusiasm only grew with the appearance of the professional drivers. Hunter-Reay signed autographs and posed for photos, while Karam greeted fans and even received a hug or two.
After the outdoor portion of the visit, the drivers separated and went to different floors of the hospital. The kids were pleased to meet Sage Karam, who at 17 is still young man himself.
Karam posed for photos, handed out toy cars and chatted with patients about his job as a professional Indy car racer.
Parents, along with their children, enjoyed the visit from Racing for Kids. Hunter-Reay and Karam certainly made an impact with their visit to All Children's Hospital.