Back in August, we brought you the touching story of Caleb Hammond, an 11-year-old leukemia patient from Oskaloosa, Iowa who got an amazing response from the racing community after requesting racing stickers for his casket.
Garrett Hayim, the owner of a Ferrari dealership in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, did Caleb one better than racing stickers, sending a $330,000 488 Challenge race car, a driver, and a racing suit all the way to Iowa Speedway so that Caleb could get the ultimate racing experience.
“I think it’s amazing,” Caleb told KCCI. “It’s very loud, and I bet it’s going to be pretty fast. I’m glad my family is here to experience it with me.”
Caleb soon found out just how fast the Ferrari race car really was, as driver Jody Coenen got the 488 Challenge up to its top speed of 202 MPH, before treating Caleb to a couple of burnouts and donuts on the track.
“We are just happy to provide the venue where he can come and do this and happy to have them here,” said David Hyatt, who is the president of the Iowa Speedway. “For us, it’s kind of a thrill watching him smile.”
Since Caleb is battling terminal leukemia, he doesn’t know how many days he has left. But the brave boy has elected to live his life to the fullest rather than spend his days in a hospital bed.
“I believe he made the right choice, to live it out doing what we’re doing instead of lying in a hospital bed,” said Caleb’s father, John Hammond.
“He is the bravest kid I think I’ll ever know.”
Caleb, who will be attending the Green Bay Packers-Chicago Bears game on September 9, has been working to cross off one bucket list item at a time. For him, the Ferrari ride will definitely go down as one of the most special ones.
“When we did the donuts, it felt like a tornado,” Caleb said.
“This is something I will never forget.”