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SALT LAKE CITY — You hope you never have a kid sick enough to end up at Primary Children's Hospital, but it's been Ethan Carnesecca's home for the past few weeks.
"He just had pneumonia and it kept getting worse and worse," said Michele Carnesecca, Ethan's mother. "Our doctor said we 'won the worst case scenario with pneumonia.’ ”
Ethan was flown to the hospital by medical helicopter after his lungs began filling with fluid. He spent Easter Sunday and his third birthday with a chest tube and IV.
"He's been poked and prodded and had chest X-rays and CT scans," Michele said.
Through it all, she says one thing has brought her son comfort — and it's not visits from his four older brothers and sisters.
"Hot Wheels," Michele said with a laugh.
Doctors and nurses at Primary Children's Hospital caught on that the tiny little cars settled their patient down.
"They're all aware of how important these cars are," Michele said. "They don't touch the pillows. They don't take them out of his hands. (Before each procedure) they'll run around the hospital trying to find a car for him."
Those doctors and nurses might not need to run around anymore, now that a local Hot Wheels collector and blogger knows about Ethan.
"He said, 'Can I write this story about Ethan?’ ” said Ethan's dad, Chad Carnesecca.
The blog post began circulating online, and the tiny cars started rolling in.
"People from Malaysia, Europe, all over the Orient (have sent toy cars)," Chad said. "It's been pretty amazing just to see people reach out."
As of Monday, Ethan had received about 100 Hot Wheels for his hospital room. They've turned the little boy's bed into a makeshift parking lot.
"It's just been so fun to see how great people are, just trying to help out and do what they can," Michele said.
Their gesture shows sometimes even the tiniest of things can make the biggest difference in the eyes of a little boy.
If you would like to send Hot Wheels car to Ethan, you can mail them to:
c/o Primary Children's Hospital
100 Mario Capecchi Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84132