RENO — Friday morning, a young cancer patient, got a special visit from one of his favorite sport icons.
For a brief moment, Renown’s Children Hospital became a place of courage where small beads handed out by the hands of Monster Truck drivers into the palms of small kids became a promise of courage, encouragement and strength.
Two patients drivers Alex Blackwell and Kreg Christensen saw on Friday was 12-year-old Logan Mason, who is a Monster Truck fan in his own right.
Both drivers took out a strand of string and bowls of beads, delighting Mason.
“He’s a Monster Truck fan. Last year, my husband took him and a friend to presentation,” his mother said. “I think he was so excited to make more beads and has three full complete necklaces now. They are from all different times he’s come into the hospital when he needed different infusions, needle sticks or surgeries.”
The beads represent the courage, but it also gives them hope to help them face the problems they deal with on a daily basis, especially when faced which a chronic and life-threatening condition as cancer.
Asked about this aspect of the tour Blackwell, driver of Wolverine, said, “Kreg and I have been doing this since our first week out in Council Bluffs, Iowa, so 10-weeks ago we started. And every weekend we usually go somewhere and hand out beads. It’s an honor as some of the kids aren’t able to come see us.
“Asked about the meaning the beads have he said, “It helps them get through their day,” Blackwell said.
His fellow driver Christensen, who pilots Maximum Destruction, agreed.
“You know, it’s an absolute honor for a Monster Jam driver to come out and see the kids, even if it’s a smile on their face for a short minute.”
He, too, has feelings about what the beads represent.
“These kids have more courage than we do as we can just get out of the truck. But they have to face their problems every day and can’t get away from it,” Christiansen said.
He added that over the years some of the patients they’ve seen have come to the shows and introduced themselves.
“This year a coupe of the kids came around that we had seen,” Christiansen said. “That makes it all worthwhile.
“The Monster Truck Beads of Courage Tour” is part of any visit of the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam Series to be held this weekend beginning Friday through Sunday at the Reno Livestock Center.
The new beads are packaged with a note of encouragement explaining the symbolism of the head ad an autograph page for the driver to make it official. To add to the experience each Monster JamBead of Courage is packaged with eight other beads to provide further encouragement to patients, creating the Beads of Courage Monster Jam Thriller Necklace.
Beads are firs given to patients at hospitals, including the Children’s Hospital & Medical Center of Omaha, St. Francis Children;s Hospital in Tulsa, Children’s Hospital in Denver, University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital In Albuquerque, OU medical Center in Oklahoma City, Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno and nine Texas hospitals.
“Our industry is based on children and it’s for children,” Christensen said.
Later that day he and Blackwell preformed in the first of four show at the Reno Livestock Events Center.
Saturday begins with a pit party at noon when people can not only meet the drivers but also get “up and close personal” with the trucks.
Then the trucks have two showings, one a 2 p.m. and another at 7:30 p.m., followed by a 2 p.m. show on Sunday. Two weeks later, the trucks head for the Monster Jam World Finals in Las Vegas where fans from 50 countries are expected.
For more information about the Advance Auto Parts Monster Jam series, visit www.mosterjam.com.