BALTIMORE, Md. — Being in the hospital can be a difficult time for anyone but it can especially take its toll on the youngest of patients.
One Maryland family is helping to put a smile on children’s faces with a special delivery at the Herman and Walter Samuelson Children Hospital at Sinai.
For several kids Friday, a doctor's appointment is the last thing on their minds.
Instead, they’re off racing each other through the halls of the hospital, seemingly without a care in the world.
Noelle Scott’s grandmother Kimberly Blackson said “she has sickle cell disease. She’s in the hospital quite a bit, so to see her be able to move around the hospital on her own and not have to hold the IV pole on her own, is very good.”
Outfitted with a hitch to haul an IV, dozens of miniature Porsches put kids in the driver’s seat of their hospital stay.
“It diverts her from being sad and getting poked all the time, so it’s a very good feeling,” Blackson said.
Herman and Walter Samuelson Children Hospital at Sinai chair and director of hematology/oncology Dr. Aziza Shad said “it’s hard to describe as an oncologist what it means to bring more happiness to a child when they’re stuck in the hospital for long periods of time. It doesn’t just help the child, it helps the family as well.”
The cars are courtesy of Wy’s Rides, a non-profit organization founded by Bryan Rex and inspired by his son Wyatt's diagnosis with cancer.
“My son Wyatt was nine months. He was diagnosed with a cancer, stage 4 neuroblastoma. It’s a real scary moment when that happens but despite all the wonderful medicine and what the doctors did for us, we knew that him staying happy would be crucial for his recovery,” Rex said.
The idea for their car creation was born.
“My wife being very creative, and entrepreneurial decided to go ahead and outfit or have me outfit this radio controlled power wagon with a trailer hitch. What that allowed us to do is to get Wyatt out of the room,” Rex said.
Wy’s Rides vehicles seem to be just what the doctor ordered.
“These distractions, these beautiful events, these contraptions that allow them to move freely and have fun while they’re still getting their treatment, makes all the difference to them and makes my day better,” Dr. Shad said.
“When we were in, I found out that that seemed to keep Wyatt very happy. You couldn’t keep him in his room. He wanted to get out. You can’t just let him run free, so by tethering that equipment, to that power wagon, and then me controlling it, just put a big grin on his face,” Rex said.
For many families, these miniatures cars are part of a race to the finish with only one goal in mind.
“He’s been in full remission for nearly two years now. He rang his cancer free bell in 2017. Early 2017, actually on his birthday. So it’s just been a real blessing for us. We’re honored and blessed to be able to give back to the community,” Rex said.