When you need someone’s support, a member of the NASCAR community is almost always there to deliver. So, on Wednesday, after several NASCAR teams heard that young Jake Leatherman passed away and his funeral was being held in Hickory, North Carolina, the sportsmen decided to show up and surprise his mother, Crystal in the best way possible.
After a long battle with juvenile myelomoncytic leukemia, Jake lost last Tuesday. And all of his short life, Jake, 5, had been a huge fan of NASCAR. He fell in love with cars, the drivers, and just love spending hours of his day watching the race cars go around in circles.
His favorite? Well that was “The King” Richard Perry.
Learn more about how Crystal got the NASCAR stars to come to her son’s funeral and learn more about their act of service below!
After her son passed, Crystal was distraught. But since he had battled cancer for many years, she always knew that his passing could be a situation she might need to deal with someday. It was the sad truth that constantly tore at her heart.
Inspired to do everything she could for her son, Crystal submitted an impassioned request to Molly Grantham at WBTV Channel 3, a local news affiliate in Charlotte, North Carolina, asking if anyone in the NASCAR community could attend Jake’s funeral in their team’s uniform.
After hearing the call, many Spring Cup teams showed up and gave Crystal exactly what she asked for. She was overjoyed and knew that her young son would have been proud.
Because the boy passed on to Heaven way too soon, NASCAR wanted to show the young fan how big their hearts are. Teams including Team Penske, Stewart-Haas Racing, Richard Childress Racing, and even the team owned by Jake’s favorite driver, Richard Petty Motorsports, came to the Hickory funeral to pay their respects to one of their biggest fans.
Perspective. Much needed. This is the power of people, and love. #MollysKids READ: https://t.co/5kV48yNHUL
Thank you @NASCAR. #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/w1ghlEwXr2
— Molly Grantham WBTV (@MollyGrantham) November 9, 2016
RPMotorsports tweeted a photo of their team in uniform along with the following words, “When Jake’s mom reached out to the NASCAR family for love and support, teams never hesitated to show up and celebrate his life!”
NASCAR star Matthew DiBenedetto tweeted, “Just got home from Jake Leatherman’s funeral. Gives a true perspective on life. The @NASCAR community is unbelievable. Huge turnout”
Ryan Ellis, the NASCAR sports hero tweeted, “Agree. So many @NASCAR team members here to support a young kid who supported us. Phenomenal family and sport we have.”
In response to the NASCAR showing how big their hearts are, users from across the country shared responses in the comments on FoxSports.com:
“Great respect for you guys that attended the funeral. I always knew the NASCAR community was close and a great bunch of men.”
“Great job showing respect and love to a child that loved all of NASCAR …. RIP sweety and God bless your family .. Keep your eye on these guys from up high little angel ..”
“NASCAR people believe in KIDS! Awesome caring!! Sad for the family’s loss”
“These are real men and patriots thank you for honoring this little boy, god bless you guys”
Please SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS in the comments below now!