Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dream Racer - making life a little bit more comfortable for kids at the pediatric cancer clinic at UNC Children's Hospital

A generous gift is making life more enjoyable for children at UNC Children's Hospital. It's a video game built with the same materials as real race cars.
Dylan Price, 15, of Greensboro, was the first in a pediatric cancer clinic at UNC to take the Dream Racer for a spin. 
Dylan's leukemia is in remission, but he's hooked up to a drug to fight graft-versus-host disease, a side effect of his bone marrow transplant. In the Dream Racer driver's seat, he's not thinking about side effects, needles or IV lines. 
"It's kind of cool because it's like an actual driving car and everything," he said. "It feels like you're actually in a car."
The special ride won't be found in any arcade; Mark Smith designed it specifically with patients like Dylan in mind.
"We built 31 of these that are in hospitals all the way to Redondo Beach, California," Smith said.
The racers are hand-built and adjustable to children of all sizes. They cost $10,000.
"(I've heard a lot) of stories about how these take the anxiety and stress level from kids taking treatments," Smith said. 
Restart Life, a South Carolina dietary supplements company, raised the money to make the car at UNC Children's Hospital possible.
"I don't know where efforts could be better placed in trying to share with the community," said company spokesman A.J. Lanigan.
Smith said the Dream Racers are popular.
"I've been in hospitals where you couldn't see the car for the kids," he said. 
"I know that there are so many kids I've met here that are going to love this thing," Dylan added.