11 year-old Caleb Hammond’s love of NASCAR has meant many happy hours of life cheering on his favorite drivers. Terminal leukemia hasn’t slowed that enthusiasm, but now the tables have turned and it’s the drivers who are rooting for him. Having always admired the colorful cars, his family put out a request for racing stickers to cover his casket as time runs short & the sport has stepped up.
Caleb has loved auto racing since the age of 2, when he started visiting his uncle at his home near the Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa. The two would watch as drivers parked their cars on the street before the track opened and then would head to the stands to see the colorful cars race around the speedway.
“He’s my racing buddy. It was kind of our deal,” Playle said. “I probably had just as much fun as he did.”
Playle said the stickers have been pouring in after social media appeals, helping to keep everyone’s spirits up.
Here’s a few others (and there were so many more from drivers, racing teams & fans not shown here):
Caleb got to experience racing first-hand on Saturday when he suited up in driving gear and sped around a dirt track in a stock car designed for children. A 12-year-old racer sat beside Caleb to help him learn to work the stick-shift and navigate the track.
Caleb’s father, John Hammond, told The Oskaloosa Herald that the entire family had been looking forward to the racing.
“A goal of his was to be able to drive a race car when he got older,” Hammond said. “It’s like a dream come true.”
Many of us have seen the devastating effects of cancer (fuck cancer, btw), and we also know that the smallest gestures & bright spots can make an enormous difference on these difficult journeys. It’s awesome that drivers & thoughtful people from around the world are reaching out with words of encouragement & the stickers that represent his joy & pride in something he’s always enjoyed with family.
If you want to send Caleb & his family some love, and maybe even a few cool stickers:
314 North J Street
Oskaloosa, IA 52577