Kasey Kahne today took some time away from the race track to visit patients at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver, and Enumclaw, Wash., native made a surprise visit to the hospital after announcing that he’ll be teaming up with Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to help put an end to childhood cancer by choosing Strong Against Cancer as this year’s beneficiary of their fundraising event, The DRIVE.
With toys in hand, he brought much needed smiles and brightened the day for patients and families. The hospital was revving with excitement as Kahne met with kids and teens in a race of their own – a race to feel better and get back to life outside the hospital walls.
Spreading joy to patients and families
A big fan of racing, 12-year-old Nicolas Tobias was literally speechless when Kahne walked into his room on the Cancer Unit at Seattle Children’s.
“My first thought was, ‘Wow! A real race car driver is in my room,’” said Tobias, who received a signed replica of Kahne’s race car and autographed poster. “I collect model airplanes, but this is the first race car I can add to my collection. I love the detail of the car, and I think it’s awesome!”
Tobias has been at Seattle Children’s since late January. He is being treated for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and is currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant.
“It’s wonderful to have visitors like Kasey,” said Carolina Tobias, Nicolas’ mom. “It breaks up the routine of being in the hospital and makes us feel special that he would take time to come see us. It really made our day.”
Once Tobias’ shock from the visit wore off, he thought of a message he wanted to share with Kahne, “Thank you. You’re awesome! Come back with your trophy once you win your next race.”
Helping to end childhood cancer
In choosing Strong Against Cancer as this year’s beneficiary of The DRIVE, a two-day fundraising event that brings together music and golf for a good cause, Wilson and Kahne hope to spur additional support for this groundbreaking initiative.
“I’m so glad that I can be involved and make an impact in supporting the fight against pediatric cancer. Russell has done a tremendous job already in the Strong Against Cancer initiative with Seattle Children’s. I’m looking forward to teaming up with him and donating the proceeds from this year’s DRIVE event to this important cause,” said Kahne.
Strong Against Cancer is a nationwide initiative that supports immunotherapy – a medical treatment that harnesses the power of a child’s immune cells to fight cancer. Developed at the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Seattle Children’s, immunotherapy reduces the need for chemotherapy and radiation, along with the harsh side effects that often accompany those treatments.
”We’re thrilled that Kahne and Wilson have chosen Strong Against Cancer as their charity of choice this year,” said Eve Kopp, director of corporate annual giving, Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation. “With their support, we hope to raise much needed funds to support immunotherapy and move one step closer to putting an end to pediatric cancer.”
If you are interested in supporting the advancement of immunotherapy and cancer research at Seattle Children’s, please visit our donation page.