At age 15, Mary Frances Webb is being treated for cancer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. The student at North Oconee High School in Georgia was diagnosed with two cancerous brain tumors at 14, but she hasn’t let the disease dim her sparkle or her talent.
In fact, when Hendrick Motorsports’ “DESI9N TO DRIVE” program asked her to design a car paint scheme for NASCAR driver Chase Elliott, she blew everyone’s expectations out of the water.
When we asked kids from @childrensatl to inspire @chaseelliott‘s car wrap and gear, we didn’t expect them to inspire us.— NAPA KNOW HOW (@NAPAKnowHow) August 30, 2021
Tune in on Sunday to see this special scheme take on @TooToughToTame. #DESI9NTODRIVE pic.twitter.com/tDF163TjsD
“Oh I love it!” Chase exclaimed over Mary’s design. “You did awesome!”
The “DESI9N TO DRIVE” program selected patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to design the paint scheme for Chase’s No. 9 car, each article of his racing gear, and his teammates’ driving shoes. Once the items are worn or raced, they are then auctioned off to benefit the hospital.
The 25-year-old race car driver from Georgia ran Mary’s paint scheme at Darlington Raceway on September 5, 2021. Although his 31st place finish wasn’t what he’d hoped for, he loved having Mary there.
“This weekend is not about me, it’s about some super special children from Children’s Healthcare Atlanta,” Chase said.
He introduced Mary to his boss, Rick Hendrick, as well as his teammates, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, and William Byron. Even Ryan Blaney, Chase’s best friend and fellow driver, came over before the race to say hello. As for Mary, she was over the moon, both to be there and to hang out with Chase.
“I’m so excited! I’ve never been this excited in my life, for anything!” Mary exclaimed.
The 15-year-old offered to pray for Chase before the race and, with a mischievous twinkle in her eye, reminded Chase that he wasn’t allowed to wreck the car she designed. Laughingly, Chase told Mary she’d better tell all the other drivers they couldn’t wreck his car, either!
At one point, Mary apologized for hugging Chase so much, and he responded, “No, it’s never enough!”
Even the race commentators noticed how adorably the two were behaving toward each other. Jeff Burton said it best: “Chase, who’s so reserved normally, he cared so much that she was excited to see his car on the track.”
Mary, thank you for being such a light on a tough weekend. Your perspective and attitude is something we can ALL learn from!! It was an honor representing some amazing kids this weekend on track. Onward. #di9 pic.twitter.com/a0vMWaDaFp— Chase Elliott (@chaseelliott) September 6, 2021
Chase was obviously touched by Mary’s creativity and courage.
“Mary, thank you for being such a light on a tough weekend,” he tweeted after the race. “Your perspective and attitude is something we can ALL learn from!! It was an honor representing some amazing kids this weekend on track.”
We’re so glad Mary got to design a NASCAR paint scheme, and we’re touched by the bond she and Chase formed that day.
Watch the adorableness play out in the video below, and don’t forget to share this sweet story.
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