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Teen racing past disease towards a cure for others

Posted: 11:35 PM, Aug 29, 2018
Updated: 2018-08-30 03:36:53Z

Connor Sheffield doesn't have the life of a normal 14-year-old; a rare stomach disease robbed him of that.

When he puts on the helmet and gets behind the wheel the need for speed takes over.

"The speed like I can't wait to get into the next car because the next car is faster then the next,” Connor said.  “It feels rewarding to pass somebody, It feels rewarding to get that next spot."

Four years ago he started stacking up trophies in Quarter Midget Racing.

He’s currently ranked 4th in the region and in the top ten in the country in his division.

Life out of the racing suit doesn't come as easy.

He has a rare Gastro Intestinal Disease called Dysmotility.

“Ugh it sucks.  What's going to happen today that I'm used to at this point that I shouldn't even be worried about you know,” said Connor.

It's progressive and it means he has to eat with a feeding tube.

Instead of sleepovers at friends he spends weeks at out of state hospitals.

Last year he had over a foot of his intestine removed to try and help with the problem to no avail.

“I would be out with friends and they would all be like “hey let’s go out to dinner or something”, and I would just be sitting their the whole time just talking instead of like eating with my friends and all that.”

He goes to Johns Hopkins for most of his treatments but there aren't any Motility Centers in the state.

Those centers have the trained professionals and testing equipment all in one place that people like Connor need.

In between weeklong trips to the hospital and days at the race course Connor finds time to make videos to raise awareness.

“If I can help us actually get this incurable disease cured or even close to a cure than I'm sure that will make thousands of lives better," Connor said.

In those videos he asks his race fans to help raise funds for a Pediatric Motility Center at Johns Hopkins.

The funds will be used to purchase specialized equipment and to hire doctors and researchers to help find a cure.

Officials at Hopkins are on board helping Connor and his parents kick start the process.

Nobody is more proud of his selflessness than Connor’s mother Tricia and father Michael.

"When you suffer enough you want to do something about it,” said Tricia.  “That gives you that drive and that passion to try and make a change."

You’ll have a hard time finding someone cheering louder at the racecourse than this mom.

"His racing name is machine because like he really is like a machine,” mom said glowingly. “How can this kid who is just in the hospital who has a feeding tube that has Ileostomy, that's sick all the time, actually look just like everybody else out there you wouldn't know."

Dad's the push off man and mechanic.

This racing family doesn't let pit stops at the hospital stop.

"The issues that he has to deal with prior to us even getting to the track, that's the thing for us,” Michael said. “We pull it into the track some days and we're just happy because we made it there. Everything else is a bonus."

Connor proving that there's no course in life or racing too difficult to tame.

He wants to be a Nascar Driver someday his favorite racer is Kyle Larson-- they both wear number 42.

He plans on racing next week as soon as his body will allow him.

To learn more about Sheffield Motorsports click here.

To donate to the Motility Center make checks payable to:
Johns Hopkins Children’s Center 
Memo: Pediatric Motility Fund 
( important to put that in the memo!!)

Mail to:
Fund For Johns Hopkins Medicine 
Attention: Children’s Center office of development 
750 E. Pratt street suite 1700 
Baltimore MD. 21202