Speedway Makes Charitable Pit Stops at Children’s Medical Facilities

Mrs. Speedway Santa Claus surprises a pediatric patient (and NASCAR fan) with a gift at Homestead Hospital

Homestead-Miami Speedway hit the road today to spread some holiday cheer to children in Homestead and Florida City, as Speedway staff delivered gifts to South Florida children in what has become an annual holiday-season tradition for track representatives.

The first stop was PATCHES medical center in Florida City, a state-licensed, non-profit facility staffed by pediatric nurses, certified teachers, and respiratory and rehab therapists who provide daily treatment to children with extreme medical needs, as well as education for care-giving parents. Treating children from birth through age 21, PATCHES is an alternative to in-patient hospital care and more-isolated home care.

In advance of the visit, PATCHES provided Homestead-Miami Speedway staffers a list of the children’s names and ages so Speedway employees could personalize the holiday gifts purchased for the event. The Speedway’s Mrs. Claus and her “elves” then distributed the gifts in personalized roll-call fashion that had the children anxiously awaiting their turn for a visit with Mrs. Claus.

“Many of our kids are forgotten at this time of year,” said PATCHES CEO Kyle Smith. “Homestead- Miami Speedway providing gifts to these children is truly a blessing. It is amazing that an organization of that size would think enough of the work we do to donate the time and money for our deserving children.”

Pit stop No. 2 on the Homestead-Miami holiday shuttle was Homestead Hospital, where Speedway staffers made the rounds of each occupied room in the “Speediatrics” children’s ER unit to present patients with gifts tailored to age and gender. Cheerful motorsports décor at Speediatrics—in the form of checkered flags, race cars and cartoon characters Curves, Traxx, Six-Speed and Clutch—helps ease the hospital experience for thousands of youth patients’ visits each year.

Homestead-Miami Speedway Public Relations Manager Edward Williams (right) shares a gift—and a laugh—with one of the younger patients at PATCHES in Florida City

“Being sick around the holidays is hard for anyone—especially for young children and their families,” said Gail Gordon, R.N., chief nursing officer and VP at Homestead Hospital. “We are grateful for our community partners like Homestead-Miami Speedway that take the time to share holiday cheer with our patients during this time.”

Homestead Hospital is one of two hospitals in the country to boast Speediatrics, the Betty Jane France Children’s Emergency Room that is financially supported by Homestead-Miami Speedway, NASCAR and community donations. Through these efforts, nearly $1 million has been raised for Speediatrics, the only dedicated pediatric unit in the southernmost region of Miami-Dade County.

“What a special invite it is to be welcomed by both Homestead Hospital and PATCHES,” said Matt Becherer, president of Homestead-Miami Speedway. “The medical staffs at these care facilities deserve all of the credit in the world for their year-round commitment to improving the health and livelihood of children experiencing challenging times. It is a remarkable effort to witness and truly humbling for our Speedway staff to be invited to spread a little joy to these children during the holiday season.”

Homestead-Miami Speedway Community Relations Manager Nathalie Salas (left) delivers a CD to a child at PATCHES in Florida City as Mrs. Speedway Santa Claus looks on

Courtesy of Homestead-Miami Speedway

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