For Indianapolis family, this hospital visit was a welcome diversion.

Indianapolis Family

Dianna Spears didn’t really know what to expect when she took her young son Alijah to Goodguys 2nd Indy Nationals earlier this month for an afternoon of “Diversionary Therapy” provided by the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.

She and Alijah, a 4-year-old pediatric cancer patient now in remission, were joined by his two teenage brothers, KaVon and Antonio. It was a family outing that was all about family bonding. It was a day for healing, the type of healing that medicines have nothing to do with; healing of the hearts and souls of a family collectively battling a cancer diagnosis.

The Austin Hatcher Foundation, partnering with the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, took their Diversionary Therapy “services” to the renowned Indiana State Fairgrounds where Goodguys Rod & Custom Association was hosting the Goodguys 2nd Indy Nationals. Alijah, his mother and brothers – built model Mustangs with Revell model building, participated in a classic car coloring contest with PPG Automotive Refinishes. They met former Indianapolis 500 champion Al Unser Jr. and his cousin Robby, an off-road racing legend while spending time at Speedway Motors. Alijah even got to climb into the cockpit of the Nationwide Insurance sponsored Dale Earnhardt Jr Racecar while his brothers were able to sit in some of their favorite American Muscle cars.

For several hours, there was no battling. Only smiling – all around.

“There are good days taking care of Alijah, some not so good and there are some bad days … but that was a great day!” she says. “I knew it’d be good but I didn’t think it would be so overwhelming. Alijah had just gotten out of the hospital the day before, but he did a lot. And when we got back home that day he just wouldn’t stop talking about it. He still talks about it, wanting to know when the event is coming back, asking when we can go again. He had so much fun. Just to see him smile the way he did …”

The Foundation’s unique Diversionary Therapy initiative sponsored by Goodguys Rod and Custom Association is designed to give young patients and their families a respite from the day-to-day challenges of a battle against cancer, with a day of motorsports-themed fun.

“It did that,” Dianna Spears said. “And originally, I thought his older brothers might actually have the most fun, because they like cars a lot. But no, Alijah, he had the most fun