IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco and his family have launched a campaign to raise money for the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto that saved his life.
Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport-Honda driver DeFrancesco, 22, was born 15 weeks early, weighing less than one kilogram (2.2lbs), and so spent the first four months of his life in an incubator at Sunnybrook, while inevitably having to overcome several health complications.
“If I wasn’t at Sunnybrook, I probably wouldn’t have survived,” he said. “My family and I will be eternally grateful for Sunnybrook’s care because nothing that followed would have been possible without them.”
Now he and the DeFrancesco family have begun a Racing for the Tiniest Babies initiative to raise money for Sunnybrook’s DAN Women & Babies Program, pledging to match all eligible donations up to $250,000. The program supports thousands of families and premature babies across the province of Ontario each year.
More than 4,000 babies from across the province are born each year at Sunnybrook including many high-risk deliveries, premature and sick babies along with “micro-preemies”.
“From working to prevent premature births and caring for pre-term infants, to understanding the complexity of multiple births, we are working tirelessly to provide world-leading care for families,” said Dr. Eugene Ng, chief of newborn and development pediatrics at the DAN Women & Babies Program. “Devlin is just one of the thousands of examples of program graduates going on to big things, and we couldn’t be more proud.”
DeFrancesco’s campaign, which bears the hashtag #BornFast, will help the hospital’s most vulnerable patients survive and thrive while providing personalized care for women with high-risk pregnancies.
Among the initiatives, Sunnybrook is inviting the community to enter a draw for a chance to win a pair of VIP passes to the Honda Indy Toronto, next month’s 10th round of the 2022 NTT IndyCar Series. Prior to the race, DeFrancesco and Andretti Steinbrenner Autosport will unveil a unique livery for the #29 car and his helmet in Toronto.
More information on Racing for the Tiniest Babies can be found at Sunnybrook.ca/BornFast.