Disability Or Not, My Son Is Determined To Be A Racing Champion

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The Cancer Diagnosis

“This is Pedro. He is eight years old.

When he was six years old, on the eve of his brother’s birthday, he spent the night in the ER on morphine with sudden, unexplained pain in his knee. We would soon find out that the pain was coming from a grapefruit-sized tumor in his leg. It was Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare and aggressive bone cancer that primarily affects children, with just 200 cases being diagnosed in the US each year.

Treatment is harsh and includes 14 cycles of some of the harshest chemotherapy, followed by ‘local control,’ which, in Pedro’s case, meant removing 8 inches of his femur and replacing it with an internal prosthetic that extends down into his tibia.

Young cancer patient petting golden retriever in hospital bed
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

Pedro is now one year out of treatment, and considered NED (No Evidence of Disease). If you ask his parents, they’ll say that the biggest struggle at this point in their journey is mobility.

Pedro can’t run, jump, or ride a bike… and he walks with a limp. If you ask Pedro himself, he’ll likely say something along the lines of, ‘Who needs to run when you can RACE!’

Two boys playing racing video game
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets
Young boy in wheelchair sitting next to blue vintage car
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

Racing With A Limb Difference

Pedro has always wanted to be a race car driver. I’ll never forget when he was two years old and not feeling well, and rather than saying ‘my tummy hurts’ he would say ‘my engine hurts.’ He has always seen the world through cars.

What got Pedro through his surgery and losing his femur was the promise that once he’d recover, he’d be able to race. The KickCancer Foundation saw the value in having this drive, and helped make Pedro’s first go-kart a reality.

Young cancer patient giving thumbs up inside go-kart
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

He got to unwrap it on Christmas morning! What a moment that was! One Christmas ago, Pedro was hooked up to continuous IV fluids and medications, and this year he was hopping down the stairs, ripping the wrapping paper off of his greatest dream coming true!

As soon as Pedro was cleared to get into a Go-Kart, and the snow cleared, he didn’t hold back. He missed out on valuable training time, but he hasn’t let that stop him.

He joined the Colorado State Karting Tour this season, and put his eyes on the prize. He was in it to win it!

There is something special about watching Pedro at the track. He limps his way over to his kart, and has to guide his stiff leg into the kart and onto the pedal. He SMILES ear to ear, while he does so, too!

Boy smiling while sitting in go-kart
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

Winning has extra meaning to him… because it’s proof.

Proof that cancer doesn’t own his story. Proof that limb difference doesn’t define what is possible. Proof that if he can do it, other kids can do it too.

Boy standing on podium proudly holding racing tophy
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets
Boy holding racing trophy in parking lot
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

Mighty Perseverance

At school, there was a child who would push Pedro to the floor, and kick away his walking aids. I feared what this would do to Pedro’s young mind. How do you teach a child to overcome obstacles and differences and come out on the other side stronger?

It turns out that Pedro would teach ME this lesson. Pedro has refused to let his limitations define him. Through finding his passion, he has come out of his struggles stronger.

He looks forward to the day he can stand up on a podium, hold his trophy, and speak a message of hope to other kids with limitations. Other things don’t matter when you know in your heart what you want to achieve, and have a message to spread.

I guess in a way, this is a story of knowing who you are and not letting anyone or anything get in your way. In Pedro’s head, he’s always been a race car driver. Cancer was just a bump in the road.

Dad playfully throwing boy in the air
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets
Boy racing in green go-kart on track
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

What are Pedro’s big plans? Well, outside of re-learning how to walk, he has his eyes set on competing at the next level in the big championship.

He wants to follow in the footsteps of his big idols: Max Verstappen, Charles LeClerc, Lewis Hamilton, and Sebastian Vettel.

Pedro is working on his pitch for sponsors, and while for many this may seem impossible, for Pedro, he already beat the odds once, so he knows anything is possible. That is his motivation, and that is his message.”

Smiling boy in racing attire
Courtesy of Laetitia Doets

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Laetitia Doets. Support Pedro’s GoFundMe. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Pedro’s journey on Instagram. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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