It has been one surreal trip for Ethan Carnesecca and his family. What started as a stressful and painful 18 days in the hospital as Ethan dealt with a serious case of pneumonia, has now turned into an amazing story of worldwide generosity. We have documented it various times here, but after writing about how Hot Wheels cars played a vital role in Ethan's recovery, we had no idea that it would ignite a tsunami of support from diecast collectors all over the world.
It is a testament to the natural generosity of collectors. Never once was a request made for cars to be sent to Ethan, but as the story spread, more and more packages were sent in from every corner of the earth. The amount of cars, easily in the thousands, is practically incomprehensible. Even more than that are the heartfelt notes and cards that came with those models, that now plaster numerous walls of the Carnesecca home. The stories and messages to Ethan are nothing short of inspiring.
All of that culminated this last Monday, when Hot Wheels Lead Designer Phil Riehlman showed up at the Carnesecca home with a special 1-of-1 Hot Wheels model for Ethan. The neighborhood gathered, and Phil presented Ethan with a plethora of gifts from the Hot Wheels design team. The entire event was documented by People Magazine.
Ethan was clearly overwhelmed by the amount of people, attention, and gifts that were there, and frankly, so was everyone else. Some of the goodies that emerged from under that black sheet:
There was plenty more that we didn't photograph. But on top of everything was this special BMW E36 M3, customized solely for Ethan:
The BMW, chosen because it is one of Ethan's favorites, sports his picture on the roof, his name on the windshield, front and rear tampos, and an "Ethan Racing" deco on the hood. It sits on a special plinth signed by many of the Hot Wheels designers.
Ethan may not realize for awhile that he has something that very few collectors have - a true Hot Wheels one-off. On top of that, he even got special artwork:
It was truly a special day. Ethan is still recovering, but his energy levels are back up, he is all personality, and he LOVES his cars.
Life is also returning to normal for the Carneseccas, but this chapter will never be forgotten. We here at Lamley are happy that the world saw how awesome the diecast collecting community really is. Like we said, no one asked for this to happen. It just did. Collectors rule...