15-year-old Arvada race car driver raises money for cancer patients

Arvada High School student supports foundation and Aurora family

Posted 6/18/19

When 15-year-old Cassidy Hinds tells her friends she’s a competitive race car driver, at first they don’t believe her. “I kind of have to prove it to them,” she said. So she invites friends …

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15-year-old Arvada race car driver raises money for cancer patients

Arvada High School student supports foundation and Aurora family

Posted

When 15-year-old Cassidy Hinds tells her friends she’s a competitive race car driver, at first they don’t believe her.

“I kind of have to prove it to them,” she said.

So she invites friends to races and brings her race cars to school.

The Arvada High School junior, who competes at the I-76 Speedway and El Paso County Raceway, got started with the sport when she was 3 years old, racing RC cars with her father, a former competitive racer.

This year — her fifth racing season — she’s also launching a philanthropic effort: a fundraiser for nonprofit Friends of Jaclyn, which serves children diagnosed with brain tumors and other forms of cancer.

The organization recently teamed with Race Face Brand Development, the marketing agency Hinds partners with, to pair each of its racers with a family served by the nonprofit.

Hinds held an initial fundraising event June 10 at Texas Roadhouse, 5515 Vance St., parking cars in the restaurant lot, taking photos and signing autographs for those who donated to the cause. Diners could also ask to donate 10% of their bill to the foundation.

Hinds feels strongly connected to the nonprofit and the children it serves.

“I’ve been in a position that was life-threatening,” said Hinds, who was born almost four months premature. “So I relate to them.”

She feels a particularly strong connection, she said, with the family she has been paired with — Karen Smith and her daughters, A’leyah, 2, and Londyn, 6, who was diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor at two days old.

“They said she wouldn’t walk and talk,” Smith said of her daughter, “but now she’s the sassiest thing.”

Since meeting the Hindses in April, Smith and her daughters have driven almost every week from their Aurora home to watch Hinds race.

“It’s nice for the girls to get out and do things that aren’t related to anything medical,” Smith said.

The two families spend time together on and off the race track, with Hinds often showing the two girls what’s behind the scenes of competitive racing.

“They get to see everything other people won’t see,” she said.

Through the first fundraiser, Hinds raised $370 for the foundation, interacting with passersby and those who had come to the restaurant specifically for the event, as was the case with neighbor Pat Horkan.

“I do charity events and, when I saw her supporting this, I had to come,” he said.

Hinds said she plans to keep racing as long as she can, setting her sights on NASCAR, and on getting her driver’s license in the coming year.

“I think driving a race car is easier than just driving,” she said with a laugh.

She will also continue raising funds for the organization through her website, where visitors can donate at cassidyhindsracing.com/racing-for-a-cause.

For Londyn, who is now recovering at home after being hospitalized June 11 from a stroke, what has meant the most has been the relationship Hinds has built with her and A’leyah, Smith said.

“It changes lives, being able to partner with a family that doesn’t deal with the same things you’re dealing with,” she said. “They’re truly amazing people.”

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