The KEYS Program’s Smile Experience Provides Special Day at the Track for Kids Battling Cancer
Donation box to be on display at the Gater Racing News booth at this weekend's Syracuse Motorsports Expo March 8-9!
Sherrill, NY "In what seemed just a blink ago, I was in a hospital room helping my mother gently maneuver headphones on my father’s ears. My father’s journey with cancer was brief, and we knew he was nearing his time to leave us. We were just hoping music could help relax him, even just a little, and provide his body enough peace to be able to sleep after days of agitation and pain. Within an hour…he was asleep. As the nurses began asking what we had done to help calm and ease my father’s pain, we said, ‘We just played music’. That was the life-changing moment that has brought us here 20 years later.” ~KEYS Founder, Colleen Bennett
From that moment in November of 1993, the KEYS Program was born to help bring music, comfort and hope to kids and their families going through the same difficult time in their life through the healing power of music. Founded by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Official David Bennett and his wife Colleen, today the KEYS Program is a 501c3 nonprofit organization providing bedside music, concerts and music care packages to more than 5,000 kids each year in children’s hospitals, camps and special needs sites both locally, and across the country, all at no cost to the families they serve.
“When we created KEYS we never dreamed we would be able to reach so many kids. We have been very fortunate to have many sponsors and friends in motorsports, like the Patrick family at the Gater Racing News, who believe in our mission and they are truly the ones that make what we do possible,” said David Bennett.
This summer, the KEYS Program will be enhancing their family programming with the addition of a combined music and motorsports program called the Smile Experience. This unique outreach program provides a special opportunity for kids who are battling cancer, and their siblings, to drive a USAC Quarter Midget, while enjoying a special day at the track with their family. Families enjoy a special hospitality area at the track with family-fun activities and LIVE music too! The KEYS Program’s philosophy is that cancer does not define a child, so all thoughts or mention of illness stays outside the track gate. Each and every child who enters the track is just a wonderful, giggling, silly kid having a fun Smile Experience with their family!
“We did a test run of this program last summer when we invited one of our KEYS families to be our special guests at the Syracuse Quarter Midget track on race night,” said Colleen Bennett. “The number of smiles per hour that night was amazing, so we decided to call this new program the Smile Experience.”
The KEYS Program provides this program, and all of its outreach, at no cost to the families they serve and depends on generous donors and sponsors to make their programs possible. If you would like to show your support, swing by the Gater Racing News booth at this weekend’s Syracuse Motorsports Expo at the NYS Fairgrounds in Syracuse, NY and drop your spare change or other donation in the KEYS donation box that will be on display. More info on the show is available on the Gater Racing News site at www.gaternews.com! The Bennett family and everyone at KEYS would like to thank the Patrick family for their continued support and dedication to the KEYS Program!
KEYS 6,000 Smiles Challenge!
Help us deliver 6,000 Smiles to our KEYS kids this year!
You can help by simply making a donation to KEYS of $20 or more. For every $20 you donate you create another SMILE!
For every 300 smiles that is raised we will take a box off the Smile-o-Meter to reveal our 2014-15 KEYS Kids Ambassador!