I’m beyond words excited to finally share some of my favorite images from Dream on 3‘s recent Dream Experience…Edwin going to his first NASCAR race and meeting his favorite driver, Joey Logano! If you’re a reader of my blog, you’ve probably seen my previous posts about Dream on 3, a Charlotte area charity organization founded by two of my dear friends with the goal of creating unique experiences where children who have chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities, or life-altering conditions have their sports dreams come true. I’ve had the honor of capturing all of their amazing dream experiences so far: for Nicholas when he got a VIP visit to the Coca Cola Speedway , Zasheed and Zebulon in NYC where they got to experience a NY Yankee like true rockstars, and even Zachyus when he got to meet some of his favorite players of the Miami Heat!
For this amazing dream experience, Dream on 3 suprised Edwin with a truly amazing day at the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Edwin is an 11 year old who suffered from cardiovascular disease and after several surgeries to try to alleviate stress to the heart and lungs, his cardiologists determined in December of 2013 he was in need of a heart transplant. Amazingly enough, he only had to wait on the transplant list for 23 days before recieving his new heart at Levine Children’s Hospital. His sports dream was to attend a NASCAR race for the first time and see his favorite driver, Joey Logano. On Saturday May 17th, Edwin knew Brandon Lindsey – founder of Dream on 3 - would be picking him up to take him to the Sprint All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway…but little did he know he would be in for quite a few more surprises than just going to the race!
A limo arrived at Edwin’s home to take he and his family to their next surprise destination…Concord Regional Airport where Penske race team helicopter was waiting to pick them up and fly them directly to Charlotte Motor Speedway! Once they safely landed at the speedway, the Dream on 3 team, with the help of many local and national organizations, had even more surprises for the remainder of the day. First it was off to meet with country singer Jake Owen, then to relax at the Coca-Cola Consolidated VIP area to relax a little bit more before the next big surprise Dream on 3 had planned for Edwin.
I didn’t think Edwin’s million dollar smile could get any bigger…until Joey Logano, Edwin’s favorite NASCAR driver, made his way to the Coca-Cola Consolidated VIP area just to have a private meet and greet with Edwin, his family, and the Dream on 3 team! Joey, with his fiancee Brittany in tow, greeted Edwin with a huge grin and bag of goodies for Edwin. From signed hats, to t-shirts and stickers – Edwin recieved some pretty awesome swag from his favorite driver! They chatted for a few moments - just the two of them as if no one else was around – then parted ways with a big hug. In that moment I personally was in tears with gratitude and happiness for Edwin having his dream come true.
After playing a few games and having a snack at the Coca-Cola VIP area, Edwin then was escorted to a private meet and greet with rock band, Train. I confess – I was SUPER excited for this moment too. I may or may not have switched to a teenage girl teenybopper status in the moment that I got to have my picture taken with Pat Monahan After hanging out with the rockstars for a bit, Edwin was beginning to feel like one himself. And in my eyes, he truly is! We headed to the driver’s meeting, where Edwin and his family were given front row seats and had the opportunity to meet some NASCAR legends! But the magic of the day didn’t end there…Joey and Brittany has extended the invitiation for Edwin to have a private tour of Joey’s racecar hauler, so we headed in that direction. Keeping their promise, Brittany found Edwin in the crowd and brought us into the hauler to hang out some more with Joey, and his pit crew! He got to talk strategy with the crew, get a private tour of the hauler and see the extra racecar hiding inside…all with a big smile on his face. Pretty soon it was time for Joey to start getting ready for the race, so before we left Joey turned to Edwin and asked him to be a part of his introduction during the All Star Race opening ceremony! “Oh man, that would be awesome!” Edwin said…and sure enough, within the hour Edwin joined Joey’s pit crew and helped push the #22 racecar onto the Charlotte Motor Speedway track for the All Star Race opening ceremony! To make a perfect ending to such an amazing day, Edwin was given the opportunity to watch the race from a private condo overlooking the speedway.
Edwin and Dream on 3 team, thanks so much for having me on board to capture your dreams come true! Edwin – you are such an amazing young man! I had so much fun hanging out with you! We will always be rooting for you buddy! Special thank you to all the amazing local and national organizations and donors who helped make this day so amazing for Edwin!
For more information about the amazing organization, Dream on 3, please check out their website and help more dreams come true!
To view, share, download and print more images from Edwin’s NASCAR & Joey Logano experience, click the link below!
Special Thanks to Donald for another amazing video from the day:
Even the Miss Sprint Cup was excited to meet Edwin!
Thanks to Donald for grabbing a shot of me with Pat and Jimmy That made a dream come true for me!
During the driver’s meeting Joey posted a shout out to Edwin on his personal twitter page!
Charity Event Photographer: Sunny Hutchinson of Themba Imagery
Sunny Hutchinson is the owner and lead photographer of the Charlotte NC photography company, Themba Imagery. Themba Imagery offers timeless and heartfelt wedding and portrait photojournalism as well as international event & humanitarian photography. Themba Imagery hosts an Annual Wedding Photography Giveaway every January and a portion of every wedding collection purchased from Themba Imagery is donated to a charity of the bride and groom’s choice.