Caleb Hammond gained nationwide attention when he asked for people to donate racing stickers to put on his casket — then the 11-year-old with a terminal cancer diagnosis got something even cooler.
The Iowa boy had been diagnosed with leukemia, and in recent months, the disease took a turn for the worse. Caleb’s parents decided to discontinue treatment so he could make the most of his remaining time, and the car aficionado asked people to give racing stickers that would be placed on his casket, WSVN reported.
“We’re trying to decorate his casket,” his uncle, Chris Playle, told the Des Moines Register. “We’re just trying to do as much as we can with him while he’s here.”
Playle explained that Caleb has loved cars and racing since he was 2-years-old, and people from around the country sent in stickers for Caleb.
One Florida car dealership took notice of the boy’s final request. Garrett Hayim, the owner of a Ferrari dealership in Fort Lauderdale, decided to bring a racing Ferrari, complete with a driver and a racing suit, all the way up to Iowa so Caleb could know what it was like to ride in a real race car.
As KCCI reported, Hayim’s father was a cancer survivor and was touched by the young boy’s story.
“Maybe I can pull off shipping the race teams, the whole team,” he said, “the truck, the trailer, the race cars, the drivers, ship them all to Iowa and see if we could give this guy a day to remember.”
They got the Iowa Speedway to go along with the idea as well.
“We are just happy to provide the venue where he can come and do this and happy to have them here,” David Hyatt, president of the Iowa Speedway, told KCCI. “For us, it’s kind of a thrill watching him smile.”
Caleb got a chance to go out on a real race track with driver Jody Coenen. The two took some spins around the track, reaching 202 miles per hour.
An 11-year-old’s dying wish comes true thanks to this Ferrari race car in Newton. Meet Caleb Hammond tonight at 6. pic.twitter.com/iDtQt6sHei— Todd Magel (@ToddMagelKCCI) August 29, 2018
Caleb said he loved his ride in the Ferrari, saying it felt “like a tornado” when they did doughnuts at the end of the race. He said it is a memory he will never forget.
Caleb Hammond is still looking for racing stickers as well. Anyone who is interested can send them to 314 North J Street, Oskaloosa, IA, 52577, or find more information on the family’s GoFundMe page.