Little Boy Races For a Cure

7 years 4 months 3 weeks ago Friday, July 23 2010 Jul 23, 2010 Friday, July 23, 2010 5:15:51 PM CDT July 23, 2010 in News
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Last January, Shayden Talbert's family got the worst news any family could get: their seven-year old son was diagnosed with leukemia.

It was in the beginning months of the treatment when Shayden was most frail, that his grandmother, Michelle Talbert, had an idea.

Michelle and her family were long time NASCAR fans, and Michelle found out about the "Toyota Sponsafy Your Ride Contest."

She joined the contest and designed a car online in honor of Shayden to raise awareness about Leukemia.

 "When I started this, Shayden was very ill. We wanted something to keep his mind off of being sick, not feeling good and having to get chemo, and this did that," said Michelle Talbert.

Although Shayden wasn't as interested in NASCAR as the rest of his family was at that point, seeing people vote for his car made Shayden feel better.

"He loved it, he'd get on the computer, every morning and night to vote on the computers in the house and we'd get home at night to see how many votes he had," said Sarah Talbert, Shayden's mother.

The Talberts ended up getting a lot of votes, enough in fact, to qualify Shayden's car for fourth place. It's an impressive feat, considering the original number of applicants was quite high.

"We had a great response , we had something like 77,000 almost 80,000 that entered into the contest, and Shayden's car was fourth out of all of them," said Russ Koble, an advertising manager at Toyota.

As part of the prize for getting fourth place, Toyota actually made the NASCAR vehicle Michelle Talbert designed, They brought it to Vandalia, where Shayden's grandparents are from, let Shayden sit in his car, and gave the family VIP tickets to a NASCAR race in Chicago.

On the night when the car arrived, Michelle said "he's been a real trooper, and he keeps going on, he had chemo this morning, and he's here tonight. Kids are diligent, they can endure and do a lot more than us adults could probably do."

Shayden's father says Shayden is doing well and says Shayden has another eight week cycle coming up beginning in mid-July. After that he will enter a phase of treatments called maintenance, and then he will have treatments just once a month.

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