“People need to know kids do die,” I heard Manny say over the phone. I had just signed up our team to fundraise for Ferrari Kid. Little did Manny know I had just lost my own son, not to the beast of cancer, but still, I was new in my own reality that, yes, kids do die.
I first met Manny and Lucy in our office the summer before this conversation where Manny had told me his story of overcoming childhood cancer and how it played a role in creating Ferrari Kid. He explained the devastation of the series of surgeries even after the cancer was gone (He is up to 50 surgeries). When Manny was in high-school he was frail from the aftermath of cancer and bullying ensued. In his battle of self-worth, his mother threw away all his pictures except the one of him standing in front of a Ferrari. That image became his focal point – his anchor to a good memory. He created Ferrari Kid to create a day where kids fighting chronic illness could escape from all their worries and create a “celebrity-like” experience. A day where they could look back and know how special they are; To create a day where the illness didn’t define the day.
The Ferrari Kid, is a non-profit organization that gives kids coping with cancer and dealing with any illness the ride and experience of a lifetime. They specialize in making kids celebrities for a day. No needles, chemotherapy, or surgery on this day. From the moment they’re picked up in a Ferrari, the excitement begins. They arrive at a celebrity destination of their choice (the spa, mall, games, dining, and Spurs events) and receive a V.I.P experience, complete with red carpet, ropes, paparazzi, and autograph seeking fans. It’s a day they will never forget and allows them to have fun and simply be a kid. It’s a beautiful day filled with fun, love, hope that they and their families can enjoy. They include the whole family, because cancer not only causes the patient physical and emotional pain and turmoil, the families suffer too.
Manny keeps in contact with his Ferrari Kids even after the event. Of the hundreds of kids he has served, 13 have passed on. The parents of these kids say it was one of the best days of their lives. These memories and pictures are shared at their funerals and held in their families hearts.
My desire is to give back to our city, hand in hand with The Ferrari Kid, by raising funds to make more priceless memories for as many other families as we can. Ferrari Kid has 170 kids on their waiting list and it cost $500 to sponsor a child. Weisinger Law Firm has taken the Hero’s Challenge with a team goal of 6K. Please join us in this challenge to help make more good memories for these families by donating here.
“Dear, Mr. Manny & the Ferrari Kid team: You all are my Super Hero’s. I had the best day of my life. Seeing all the paparazzi waiting for me was so special, and then signing autographs just put the experience over the top. No words could ever express my depth of gratitude. I will never forget this day. This was the first day in over a year, I went out in public with no hair. This was more than a car ride and celebrity experience, it was a day I let my fear go.”
Kaylee- Leukemia 14 years old