One of Dale’s biggest fans passed away, but Jr. was able to make his wish come true.
Derek Hoyt was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was two years old. Several surgeries and radiation treatments couldn’t keep the tumor at bay, and two years later, Derek was told he would have to go through the agonizing treatments once again.
After this round of treatment, it seemed Derek was in the clear, and go to live a normal life. Derek fell in love with NASCAR and was Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s biggest fan. NBC Sports says Derek joined the Cub Scouts so he could race pinewood derby cars.
In the fall of 2015, the tumor returned, and the prognosis was terminal.
Derek and his family were directed to Make-A-Wish, a group dedicated to helping kids dying wish come true. The only thing Derek wanted was to meet his hero, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
His wish came true. Derek and his family went to Exeter, New Hampshire, home of the Daytona 500. Dale Jr. made Derek feel like a friend. NBC Sports describe the conversation “as if old friends instead of strangers who had just met.”
Two months later, Derek passed away at 17.
Check out NBC Sports full story.