MANCHESTER, N.H. (March 13, 2013) – Fantasy has become reality at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD). Today, young patients at the CHaD locations at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon were delivered Children’s Dream Racers – miniature race car simulators made of real racing materials – the first to be installed in the Northeast. The technologically equipped cars, valued at $10,000 each, were made possible by New Hampshire Motor Speedway’s Chapter of Speedway Children’s Charities (SCC) through their annual grant process.
Eleven-year-old Jacob Raby of Manchester, N.H., was the first to test out the Dream Racer at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Manchester location. Jacob and his father, Peter, are huge NASCAR fans and were thrilled to be part of the unveiling. Jacob even took a few virtual laps around New Hampshire Motor Speedway in front of Magic Mile officials, Dartmouth-Hitchcock staff and media.
Dream Racers are “distraction stations,” said Jessica LaPerle, manager of CHaD’s Child Life Program. “The children are distracted from being in a hospital, and worrying about their next procedure. The parents also get to watch their children having fun, even though they’re in a difficult situation.”
Whether it’s used to play authentically looking race car video games, watch a movie or even listen to streaming music, the intention of the Children’s Dream Racers are to provide a diversion from the stress and monotony of lengthy hospital stays and procedures. There are currently 756 children’s hospitals in the United States with 25 Children’s Dream Racers now in place in those facilities.
The Children’s Dream Racer is built to look as much like a real car as possible, right down to the hood pins on the front of vehicle, which house the electronic components. The Dream Racer comes equipped with a flat panel TV, a CD/DVD player and Sony Playstation video game console. There is also an IV stand and oxygen bottle holder, allowing all children an equal opportunity to make their dreams come true. Moreover, the cars are mobile and can be positioned in different rooms and areas throughout the hospital and clinics.
“This is a great example of what the Speedway Children’s Charities was formed to do, and big thank you has to go out to all the fans who come out to the fundraisers and contribute the dollars, so that we are able to make something like the Dream Racer a reality,” said Jerry Gappens, who along with being the executive vice president and general manager of NHMS, serves as the board of trustees president for SCC.
“With only 25 of these types of cars across the country at children’s hospitals, and for us to have the opportunity to bring the first two up here to New England, it’s a win-win for the kids – and that’s what the SCC is all about.”
Speedway Children’s Charities was able to provide a Children’s Dream Racer in not only the Manchester, N.H., CHaD facility, but 70 miles north at the hospital in Lebanon, N.H.
Mark J. Hann, President and CEO of Victory MotorSports Marketing Services sees the Dream Racer as a perfect fit for CHaD and that SCC was an enthusiastic sponsor of not one, but two Dream Racers.
“Through the generous support of all of our corporate sponsors, race fans and event participants, our board was able to provide grants for the two units,” said Cheryl LaPrade, executive director of SCC’s New Hampshire Chapter. “The whole mission of SCC is to help children in need. We are so blessed to have the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock in our area to provide our kids with wonderful medical attention. It’s never a good thing to be in the hospital dealing with scary procedures. This kind of a diversion makes it a little easier.”