NASCAR driver Aric Almirola could have been excused for missing this charity event.
Almirola was involved in a fiery crash during Saturday night’s NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway. He had to be cut out his car and airlifted to the hospital, where doctors determined he broke a vertebra.
But by Wednesday, Almirola was at the “Catwalk for a Cause” event. NASCAR.com said that is a “James Bond-themed gathering held at Statesville (N.C.) Regional Airport. Fifteen ‘Catwalk Heroes,’ ranging in age from 3 to 17 years old were introduced on stage leading up to the main event. These children are either battling or have beaten cancer.”
Almirola told the Charlotte Observer that he promised a 5-year-old boy named Devin, who is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, that the two would meet there.
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“I can walk a little bit. ... I’ve got a broken back, and one of my vertebra is crushed in half,” Almirola told the Observer. “Besides that, I’ll live. But it’s a lot easier to come here and deal with the pain, knowing what all of these kids are going through, being able to put up with a few hours of discomfort to support them.”
Almirola told NASCAR.com on Friday that he expects to miss 8 to 12 weeks. In that story, Almirola said he thinks he ran over water and oil after Joey Logano and Danica Patrick crashed, and that didn’t give him a chance to avoid the other cars.
“It didn’t slow down, it didn’t turn, it didn’t do anything,” Almirola told NASCAR.com. “I just slid right into the wreck. There was nothing I could do. It was the most helpless feeling because I saw the wreck. I braced because I knew it was coming and as soon as I made impact with Joey’s car it felt like someone put a knife in my back.
“And when I went up in the air and came back down it felt like someone took that knife and just twisted it in my back. And I got a really bad burning sensation in my back.”