Imagine spending the holiday season in the hospital as a child. It can be scary, overwhelming and uncomfortable. That’s what seven-year-old Eve experienced back in December 2019 when she was admitted to Golisano Children’s hospital located in Rochester, New York. Unexpectedly, Eve had a ruptured appendix.
Eve’s mom, Angela, was devastated when she had to rush her daughter to the hospital. She shared, "As a mom of a child who is rarely sick, when I saw her lying in a hospital bed with tubes in her arm and pain in her eyes, it was heartbreaking."
Fortunately, Eve had a wonderful staff taking care of her and making her feel comfortable during her stay.
"We knew our stay was going to be no less than 5 days, which seemed daunting at first, but the team at Golisano Children’s Hospital went above and beyond to take Eve’s mind off her pain," Angela said. "Every day there was an activity for the kids to enjoy."
To make her hospital stay even better, Eve received a special visit from the Speedy Bear Brigade when NASCAR employees from Watkins Glen International stopped by the hospital to deliver The NASCAR Foundation’s signature Speedy Bear to every child.
"On our last day, Eve was thrilled to be entertained by the NASCAR crew. They not only brought in toys to play with and handed out extra soft, squishy teddy bears, they also talked with the kids on their level," shared Angela.
It’s moments like this that help take the pain away for a kid like Eve. But this moment didn’t just last in the hospital, it became a lifetime memory for her.
"Eve still talks about it, and her NASCAR bear presides prominently at the foot of her bed," Angela explained.
Even Eve wanted to tell us herself how grateful she was to receive her new Speedy Bear: "Thank you NASCAR… You made me feel much better while I was at the hospital. I love the teddy bear that I got in my bag and I use the pencil/pencil sharpener all the time. Also, the cars you brought that day to play with were so much fun. I will remember it forever."
The NASCAR Foundation’s Speedy Bear Brigade has grown from 14 participating locations in its first year to more than 30 locations coast-to-coast in 2019, surpassing a total of 2,500 Speedy Bears delivered to children spending the holiday season in the hospital. Volunteers from our NASCAR family, including NASCAR drivers Jennifer Jo Cobb, Austin Cindric, John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Vargas and 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Champion Kyle Busch, came together to deliver Speedy Bears to local children’s hospitals and clinics in our racing communities.