Caleb Hammond is just 11 years old and facing terminal cancer. Diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of 9, he and his family recently decided to stop treatment for his illness because it was no longer helping.
Facing the end of his young life, Hammond had one wish — to cover his casket in racing stickers. After hearing about the boy’s request, the racing community responded, sending Hammond so many stickers that his family now says he has more than enough and have asked that no more stickers be sent. Here are some of the stickers he received from Go Fas Racing:
— Go Fas Racing (@GoFasRacing32) August 21, 2018
Hammond has loved racing since he was a toddler, and he would watch races from outside his uncle’s house, located across the street from Southern Iowa Speedway in Oskaloosa, Iowa. On Aug. 18, he got the opportunity to drive a hobby stock race car thanks to Team Kids With Cancer 46-7, a local nonprofit organization.
“We noticed Caleb looking for stickers to cover his casket. Why do you want stickers? What’s going on?” Jared Foster, board president and co-founder of the organization, told Des Moines Register. “The board decided we need to do something and we need to get him to race.”
On the big day, Hammond was treated to all the bells and whistles, including a prayer and invocation from Central United Methodist Church pastor Bruce Warren, a singing of the national anthem and a cheering crowd in the grandstand. He snagged the winning spot in the featured race. Here he is on the racetrack, in a series of photos posted by his stepmom, Kylee Hammond:
“Just to see the smile on his face – and not only Caleb, but his family,” Laura Mulder, an official for the United States Racing Associaton who was on hand to support Hammond throughout the event, told The Oskaloosa Herald. “Just the memories that they can treasure. And all these pictures and all the videos, they’ll be able to hear Caleb. Lasting memories of a precious child.”