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Racing for Miracles

Boy behind the wheel

It was supposed to be the happiest week of Lucas's life. He had just celebrated his eighth birthday and his mom, Stephanie Davila, was about to surprise him with a trip to Disney World. Everything was going to according to plan, until Lucas and his family were on the way home from his birthday party.

Suddenly, Lucas told his mom he couldn't see anything and proceeded to collapse on the ground. Having had first-aid training before, Stephanie knew her son was having a seizure. She called 911 and he was immediately transported to Cook Children's Medical Center.

After undergoing a test that records electrical signals of the brain, the family patiently waited for results. The next morning, their lives changed when Lucas was diagnosed with epilepsy.

"It was really hard to accept Lucas's diagnosis because this is a lifelong and life-threatening disease," Stephanie said. "Thankfully, Cook Children's has been with us every step of the way."

Whenever Stephanie needed an answer to a medical question or wanted to learn more about Lucas's diagnosis, she visited Cook Children's family library. She also joined the epilepsy support group at Cook Children's, which allowed her to connect with her parents whose children have epilepsy.

And while the Davila family was learning how to adjust to their new lifestyle, Lucas was still coming to terms with his diagnosis and the restrictions it was placing on his extracurricular activities. Understandably, he was depressed.

Then, Lucas was selected to participate in a project involving NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez and Chip Foose, automobile designer and star of reality television series "Overhaulin'."

Through a partnership with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals and the Ace Hardware Foundation, Lucas was one of four patients at Cook Children's chosen to help design the No. 19 race car that Daniel Suarez would drive at the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 NASCAR race.

In addition to helping design the car, he later got to watch Suarez race at Texas Motor Speedway. The experience is one Lucas will never forget.

"He had the time of his life. It was such a nice change to not have to tell him 'no,'" Stephanie said. "For example, he's not allowed to play a ton of sports and that's all his friends are doing. Lucas feels like he's missing out on things. Cook Children's has given him a new outlook. He got to experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I missed his smile and saw it come back through the NASCAR experience."

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