Mini luxury cars donated for pediatric patients at South Florida hospitals

Abigail Sporke stepped up to a red Ferrari just outside a South Florida hospital, lifted the scissor doors and stepped into the driver's seat.

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“I wish I was small so I can drive this thing,” said Craig Kelley, a board member of nonprofit Little Smiles.

Abigail is 5. And the Ferrari? About 2 feet tall.

Little Smiles donated the mini-luxury car to pediatric patients at Palms West Hospital, near West Palm Beach, Saturday afternoon. Despite its size, the car is impressive. It can travel up to 12 mph, has a working radio, shifts gears and is push-to-start -- a bit different from the toy Jeeps children are used to.

“I can’t wait to see the red paint on the walls when the kids are drifting in the hallways,” Kelley said with a laugh.

Kelley, a luxury car connoisseur, envisions kids riding the convertibles around the hospital to treatments and for fun. And when they're finally discharged.
Earlier that day, Kelley and Brian Murphy, another board member at Little Smiles, dropped off a yellow mini McLaren at Bethesda East Hospital in West Palm Beach.
Little Smiles, based in Palm Beach Gardens, donates toys, electronics and even trips to hospitals and families with sick kids. But Saturday was the first time the nonprofit donated mini-sports cars, built by Go Baby Go, a nonprofit that swaps wheelchairs for motorized toy convertibles.

"It makes a kind of uncomfortable situation that much better," he said.
Abigail was at Palms West for four days before the convertible arrived. She has a kidney disorder called nephrotic syndrome, which causes your body to excrete too much protein in your urine. The medication she's on caused a bout of salmonella poisoning.
"It's tough because kids don't want to be stuck in a hospital room for days without anything to do but watch TV," said Caroline Sporke, Abigail's mother. "I think the kids will love playing in that car though."
Abigail sure did. Wearing a medical face mask and wrist wrapped in bandages from an IV earlier, the 5-year-old stepped in and out of the red convertible several times Saturday. She couldn't drive it — it needed a 12-hour charge before she could — but she couldn't resist pushing the buttons and turning the wheel.
Abigail's father will be jealous, Sporke said. "She's the first one to get into a Ferrari, let alone drive one."

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