Nos. 5/24 setup mechanic Adam Emmert blogs about Pit Crews for Kids
Of all the things I’ve had the opportunity to do with Hendrick Motorsports, I’d have to say that participating in Pit Crews for Kids has been one of the most rewarding.
For the past three years, I’ve joined other crew members—both from Hendrick and elsewhere in the racing community—for the trip to visit leukemia patients in the pediatric intensive care unit at Duke University Medical Center. Most recently, we had the chance to celebrate Christmas with the children, and that was a lot of fun.
(Check out photos from the event by clicking here.)
The program is part of the Hendrick Marrow Program, and, really, it’s been a life-changing experience for me in a lot of ways. It’s definitely been a great way to be involved and give back, but it also helps me keep my life in perspective. And, to be honest, I think the kids really enjoy it, too, because for one day there are visitors showing up with surprises and gifts. We aren’t doctors armed with needles – instead we get the fun part of the whole deal. Our mission is simple—bring smiles to their faces, so sometimes that means an egg hunt on Easter or a costume parade on Halloween. Other times, like our last trip, it means watching the kids unwrap the gifts that volunteers graciously donated. The kids’ smiles are infectious, and, you know, if you didn’t see the tubes connected to nearby machines, you honestly could forget these children were sick to begin with.
Pit Crews for Kids generally visits four times a year, and the Halloween trips are my favorite. Watching the kids dress up in costumes and parade through the hallways is the best. They’re so proud of their costumes. The other holidays are great, too. But believe me, trying to hide 300 Easter eggs in one hallway is hard. Still, we find a way to do it and we have a lot of fun with it.
Back in the shop now we’re gearing up for the 2012 season. There is plenty to look forward to, and plenty to be excited about, including our next trip to Duke.