After an inaugural Walk-For-Wishes fundraiser at Dover Downs International Speedway Saturday, Oct. 19, representatives of the Mid-Atlantic Make-A-Wish foundation said the money raised will help grant even more wishes to kids battling life-threatening illnesses.
Granting one wish for every day of the year in the 2013 fiscal year, the Mid-Atlantic chapter of the Make-A-Wish foundation gave away 365 wishes, with costs averaging $7,500 per wish.
One of the wishes granted belongs to Philip, a 12-year-old Millsboro resident with a life-threatening metabolic disorder and a love of NASCAR.
His wish was to go to the Daytona 500 and when the wish was granted, Phillip and his family were also treated a trip to Disney World courtesy of the NASCAR engineers Phillip befriended while they were in Florida.
At the race, Phillip got to visit Danica Patrick's trailer, sit in a driver's car and go through the official inspection at Dover Downs, meeting the crew members of some of his favorite teams and getting inside the garages.
According to his father, also named Phillip, the trip to Daytona was more than he had imagined.
"The crew chief of No. 78, Kurt Bucsh, took the time to let him hang out in the garage with them," the elder Phillip said in an email. "Tony Stewart's crew chief and a lot of others were amazing for him. This is an opportunity that not too many people get."
During the upcoming walk in Dover Downs, Phillip has been chosen to represent Sussex County as a wish kid captain, meaning he will lead his team through the walk, Make-A-Wish Spokesperson Jessica Glasser said.
"Philip has served as a captain to encourage others to participate in the walk, and along with all of the wish kids on-site at the event," Glasser said. "He will lead the walkers around the racetrack, a particularly fitting role as his wish was to go to the Daytona 500."
His father said Phillip still keeps in contact with the friends he made at NASCAR and is looking forward to spending some time back out on the speedway.
Walkers can still register at Dover Downs prior to the event, which is slated to run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call 301-964-3474 or go to www.midatlantic.wish.org.