Burn Rubber, Help Another: Boy Races Go-Karts for Kids with Cancer

In less than a year, seven-year-old Timmy Tyrrell’s life in the fast lane has raised more than $22,000.
The mini-philanthropist: Timmy Tyrrell has raised $22,000 for families of kids with cancer. (Photo: Tina Tyrrell)
Dec 23, 2011· 1 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

Grab the Kleenex, this one’ll pull at your heart strings.

In less than a year, seven-year-old Timmy “Mini” Tyrrell of Manassas, Virginia has raised more than $22,000 for families of children with cancer. His philanthropic modus-operandi? Go-kart racing.

So-called “Mini’s Mission” began earlier this year when Timmy’s friend Ella Day was diagnosed with a brain tumor. “We’ve been friends for a very long time,” said Timmy to CNN. “I saw that something was wrong, and I wanted to help her.”

Timmy’s mother Tina says that she had long conversations with her son about how cancer would affect Ella Day—specifically that chemotherapy would cause her to lose her hair. “And he said, ‘I want to raise money for kids with cancer. And I need you to help me.’ '”

Spurred to action by their son, the parents of the mini-philanthropist teamed up with Inspired Athletes, a nonprofit organization in Woodbridge, Virginia, to collect donations for the Jeffrey Virostek Memorial Fund. The charity is named for a Chantilly boy who died of leukemia in 2003 at age 4.

“The journey is not just the cancer. It takes an emotional and a financial toll,” said Virostek to CNN. “We give grants to organizations that directly help families who are going through this journey.”

“When I heard what Timmy was doing, I thought it was incredible,” said Ella Day's mother, Karen. “Families need help. They go through so much...it’s an expense that you couldn’t imagine.”

Timmy tells CNN that his go-kart racing is more than just winning or losing.

“I’m thinking about helping children, thinking about racing my go-kart, thinking how much fun it is, and thinking about how much children I can help and families.”