The 11th annual Rides to Remember charity event on Saturday gave pediatric cancer patients a chance to actually forget some of their day-to-day struggles as the kids got to take a ride in an exotic car around the track at Atlanta Motorsports Park.
“Every year we come up here it is an emotional day for us, but it is a super rewarding day because we get to kind of take their minds off of what they fight every day,” said Will Campbell, general manager of Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta.
That is the case for 13-year-old Cristian Serban, according to his mother.
“It’s really fun,” Claudia Serban said. “They forget what they have been through with this kind of event…I see he is smiling and happy. He is so excited so he can focus on the good side, not on the bad side.”
Cristian Serban has a brain tumor but has been cancer-free for the past three months.
Ferrari Maserati of Atlanta started the event more than a decade ago to honor a family member who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. The dealership partners with local sponsors and car owners to raise funds for organizations like Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Owners of exotics sports cars gather at the dealership in Alpharetta to drive in a police-escorted caravan to the Atlanta Motorsports Park in Dawsonville where more than 100 children, ages eight to 18, have the opportunity to take a ride around the track in the vehicle of their choice.
Serban participated this year for the second time.
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “I rode the Lotus and Ferrari [last year]. I like the Lotus.”
Children and their families visited the face painting booth, played games and listened to music from the live DJ while waiting for the cars to arrive after a traffic delay on 400. All funds raised this year will go to Sunshine, Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities and CURE Childhood Cancer. Donation totals were not available as of press time.
Sponsors included Global Protective Services, Atlanta Motorsports Park, Morrison Healthcare, Sharp Residential, CarTunes of Atlanta, Magnum Collision Repair Center, Ninja Multimedia, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games and The Partnership.