HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY SHIFTS INTO HOLIDAY SPIRIT
Homestead-Miami Speedway “elves” made a holiday visit to Homestead Hospital’s Speediatrics unit which is one of only two in the country founded by Betty Jane France and is the only Emergency Center in south Miami-Dade County dedicated to children.
Homestead-Miami Speedway employees hit the road today spreading 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 that 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.
“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.”
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 “elves” helped Santa Claus distribute the gifts to each youngster, each who was anxiously waiting to receive a present.
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.
“We are grateful for the generosity of our community partners like Homestead-Miami Speedway for their continued support,” said Bill Duquette, CEO of Homestead Hospital. “Being in the hospital is a hardship at any time, and is especially tough during the holidays and for children. Cheerful visits like this reduce the anxiety for some of our youngest patients.”
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, more than $1 million has been raised for Speediatrics, the only dedicated pediatric unit in the southernmost region of Miami-Dade County.
“Being sick around the holidays is hard for anyone—especially for young children and their families,” 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.”