BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Grand Prix of Baltimore is only a few months away. This year, the race is using its popularity to help sick kids.

Monique Griego has more on how it’s teaming up with Kennedy Krieger.

The Grand Prix is giving fans the opportunity to donate to the institute the moment they buy their tickets.

Last November, Kokayi Thomas’ life was turned upside down. After undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor, the then-14-year-old was left partially paralyzed and without the ability to speak or walk.

“It’s been earth-shattering, obviously. In a significant way, it changes our family,” said Thomas’ father, Dr. Duane Thomas.

Thomas has spent the past few months in rehabilitation at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in east Baltimore. Tuesday, the institute, which helps kids with neurological disorders, announced it’s getting a turbo boost funds from the city’s big race.

“The kids that come here have terrible, terrible injuries, issues that are being dealt with,” said J.P. Grant, Race On.

This year, the Grand Prix of Baltimore will allow fans to donate $1 to the institute when purchasing their tickets online. Race leaders even kicked off the fundraiser with a $50,000 check.

“The money raised by Grand Prix is going to research so we can have better techniques than we have today,” said Dr. Gary Goldstein, Kennedy Krieger.

Thomas is already making huge strides in his recovery.

“I couldn’t walk, couldn’t speak, couldn’t do anything and now I can do that,” Thomas said.

He and his family owe a lot of his progress to Kennedy Krieger and its staff. They say a dollar donation from every race fan can help these kids go a long way.

“Just to be able to see them make significant progress from barely functioning to where he’s functioning today…it’s nothing short of a miracle,” Dr. Thomas said.

The Baltimore Grand Prix kicks off Labor Day weekend, August 31 through September 1.

You can buy your tickets online and donate to Kennedy Krieger starting Tuesday.


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