Couple uses supercar collection to help sick kids smile

Kids battling life-threatening illnesses are getting to choose which supercar they spend the day in, all thanks to a compassionate American car collector.

Portland tech consultant Eric Peterson and his wife Amity together own a total of 10 different rare and valuable supercars, including an original Shelby AC Cobra.

While most supercar owners baby their cars, the Petersons instead decided to set up Dream Drives for Kids six months ago, which is dedicated to brightening the lives of sick children with exotic cars.

Pick your favourite

Each child not only gets to pick their favourite model from the Petersons’ enviable collection and learn about it, but they also get a 30 minute ride-along, plus a video and photos of the day.

Eric’s wife Amity said: “We’re lucky we had the means, and we just didn’t want the cars to sit, we wanted to do something nice.”

Dream Drives for Kids’ latest visitor was a four-year old named Gideon, who suffers from a rare form of childhood melanoma.

“My wife and I have an 8-year old and an 11-year old,” Eric said, “and I often think ‘how would it be if they had cancer?’”

A car fan himself, Gideon has made a habit of bringing along boxes of Hot Wheels toys to hospital wards to pass out to the other children, and also brought a set for the Petersons to distribute.

His mother said: “We don’t know what the future’s going to bring. What we’re looking for is to make another memory with Gideon and this has been a great day.”

Gideon is currently the 10th child to be taken for a ride by the Dream Drives organisation, who are working with a local children’s hospital to take one sick child out each and every week.

Privileged passenger

After choosing one of Eric’s cars to be taken out for a ride in, the Petersons say that for half an hour, each child is the privileged passenger rather than just a patient.

Eric said: “We let them experience sports cars that most people don’t even get to see, much less drive.

“We make videotapes in the cars, we take lots of pictures and just provide the families with an experience that they can actually look back on over the years.

“Forget about hospitals, forget about doctors and just have a good time.”