When Windermere resident Kyle Masson was just 8 years old, he was introduced to his little brother several weeks early after a whirlwind birth by emergency cesarean section. The four-pound, two-ounce baby boy spent time on life support in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies before he was able to go home. The boys’ father, local neurosurgeon Dr. Robert Masson, describes Kyle as “uniquely involved” in his role as big brother to Alex when they were young.
“Ever since that incredible time, Kyle has had a passion for reaching out to sick kids in a calming and healing way,” Robert says.
Last year, Kyle had an idea to build two racing simulators at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. He wanted to engage with the kids while providing a fun distraction and motivation to get through the trying times. Since then, he has raised $20,000 to make it happen.
“He came up with his simulator program to try to do something unique for kids who have to be in the hospital, to try to take their mind into a positive, fun, competitive place, to inspire hope and direction,” Robert says. “Kyle loves motorsports racing like nothing in his life and, to him, the gift of the simulators is the most important gift that he could give a sick kid, other than inspiring them to compete on the simulator.”
Kyle’s dedication to making the simulator program a reality earned him a nomination to the Orlando board for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. At 19 years old, this is quite the feat.
His involvement in motorsports is what drives his ambition to give back. What began as Kyle’s passion for racecars developed into a competitive outlet for him and his father. While Robert expected to teach his first born about the sport, he says there was a role reversal where Kyle became the mentor.
“We constantly feed off each other and learn from each other,” Kyle says. “He has provided me with the learning platform that allowed me to grow, reach my potential and set the bar high. From there, he has a bar set for him to chase.”
Now, the Masson men race in a professional prototype series, the IMSA Mazda Prototype Challenge, as a father-son team. Kyle is undefeated in eight races, including this year’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
“I am so grateful to be in a position where I can share this experience with my child,” Robert says. “A lot of people are amazed at the commitment that I have given to his racing, but, in reality, I am the lucky one to have shared this with him.”
As Kyle continues to excel in racing, he will also continue to be an ambassador for sick kids, using his passion for the sport to change their lives.