DES MOINES, Iowa -- An Oskaloosa boy who won over the hearts of the car racing community has died.
Caleb Hammond, 11, died early Monday morning after a long battle with leukemia. Hammond had recently choose to stop cancer treatments in order to live his final days to the fullest. During that time, he got to ride in his favorite type of race car at the Iowa Speedway. His dying wish was to have his casket decorated in stickers like a race car. He received thousands of them.
The boy's race against cancer was one he didn't do alone. On Monday, a moment of silence was held in Hammond's honor at the NASCAR Xfinity Series at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. More than a dozen drivers competing, decorated their cars in "Team Caleb" stickers. Others chose to the honor the racing fan on social media. Professional driver, Brian Brown, called Hammond a friend on Twitter, saying his courage was an inspiration to all.
Hammond's story is now turning into a social media movement, the #burnoutcancer challenge, where stock car drivers spin their wheels to raise awareness about childhood cancer.
The support from the racing community is overwhelming. Hammond's family says its reminds them there is still good in the world.
"With Caleb's story and other kids stories there is still so much good out there and I hope our families can give more of this goodness to other families," says Caleb's mother, Holly Kempf.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced for Hammond. His family is in the process of raising funds to help with funeral expenses.