Starlight All-Star, Rob Megennis, Shares Love for Racing with Hospitalized Kids

Palo Alto Networks racecar driver, Rob Megennis, sits on the floor of a hospital playroom. He has a toy car in his hand and he’s “racing” a few of the kids on an imaginary track.

Pediatric patients love trying on Rob’s racing helmet!

When 17-year-old Rob isn’t visiting with hospitalized kids, he’s on a real race track going more than 100 mph competing in the Indy 500 or Formula 1 races. He’s been racing professionally since he was 15 and has been a passionate Starlight supporter for almost two years. 

“To see the kids faces light up as they try on my helmet, and to be able to share my love for racing with kids who aren’t having the best time in their lives, it is really such an amazing opportunity for me,” Rob says.

For every hospital visit, he brings toy replicas of his race car to give out to each child. He shows up in his racing uniform and lets the kids try on his 10 lb helmet. Rob says they look at him in awe as if he was an astronaut.

Keeping it Real with Hospitalized Kids

Rob was hospitalized once. It was his first race when he was 15 years old. He hit another car, went over the top and rolled down a hill at 130 mph. He was immediately taken to the hospital, but thanks to his protective gear, he only suffered bruising and a minor concussion.

Because of this experience, though, he has started to talk to young hospitalized teens about the safety and importance of always wearing a helmet. During one hospital visit, he met with a few boys who had been in a dirt biking accident. They talked about the risks and responsibilities when it comes to recreational activities.

The best part of the all the visits, Rob says, is when he plays Mario Kart with the kids on the Starlight Fun Center, which can roll throughout the hospital and come preloaded with all the best Nintendo Wii U video games.  

Making an Impact

Rob and Chance compete on the Starlight Fun Center.

Rob met Chance during a visit at Harlem Hospital in New York. Despite being a real race car driver, Chance beat Rob every single time they played. Rob said it was fun to just enjoy the day with Chance and the other kids. 

Rob travels around the world for races but he always finds time to make a hospital visit every few months. His humility and compassion are what make Rob an awesome Starlight All-Star!

“I see myself as lucky enough to have these experiences and share them with these kids. I’m just there to help brighten their day and give back.”

You can be an all-star for kids, too, when you make a donation to Starlight. Every dollar you give helps us bring smiles to hospitalized kids. Donate today!

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About the Author

Tara Millspaugh

Digital Media Manager

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