CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) – A dream came true Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway for a 12-year-old in Lenoir, who recently had a life-saving heart transplant.
In that post, from his hospital bed, Will said he was Dale Earnhardt Junior’s biggest fan. A local charity called Dream On 3 saw the article on Facebook and started, quietly, making some calls. They grant sports-related wishes for sick children in the Charlotte-area.
Meantime, Will got his transplant. Two months ago to the day. So far, so good.
And today, four months after seeing that post Dream On 3 created an elaborate dream with the help of Dale Junior, Junior Motorsports and CMS, to give Will’s new heart quite the test run.
“We talked with doctors first,” said Brandon Lindsey, with Dream On 3. “We made sure it would be okay for Will to be out here taking laps at high speeds around the Speedway. They gave approval, so here we are.”
When Will arrived at CMS, he didn’t know why. And though Will was excited, he was also quiet.
He got emotional when asked why.
“Because my parents were supposed to be here with me,” he said, through tears. “But they had to take my little sister to Duke for testing. We just found out she has an enlarged heart. She’s only five.”
He put his head down. “I’m really worried about her.”
Being that Will just went through multiple surgeries, long hospital stays and a transplant himself, he said he didn’t want to have think about his baby sister possibly having to do the same.
But, those thoughts were obviously present in Will’s mind. Once he met Dale Junior the only question he asked was if the NASCAR driver would help make a video Will could send to his family who wasn’t there.
“Of course,” Junior said. “Let’s make one right now.”
We put a GoPro camera inside the #88 car to see all perspectives. Watch the video below to see Will’s entire ride beside his idol (and the speed at which those cars move around the track!)
Afterwards there was lots of laughter, smiles and time for celebration. Dale Junior rode Will around the Speedway FOUR times.
Lindsey said Will was the first kid Junior had ever driven in a racecar around the track.
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