• By Laurel Kelly

In the Loop: Helping the youngest heart patients, one car at a time

March 26, 2019

In the Loop interviewee Dr. John Lawson and his 'Johnny Cars'A Facebook post gave John Lawson the idea to build toy cars for children, but his inspiration comes from his friend Dr. Joseph Dearani's pediatric patients at Mayo Clinic.


If John Lawson had his way, the only reason you'd know his name would be because you're sitting in the waiting room of his Orthodontic Health Center practice in Rochester. You'd probably never know — and he'd certainly never openly tell you — that when he's not fixing teeth, he's in his garage, building toy cars for a different patient population — the pediatric patients of Mayo Clinic cardiovascular surgeon Joseph Dearani, M.D.

"I really wanted to be quiet about all of this," Dr. Lawson tells us. "But, oh well." Well, we tend to think stories like this deserve to be told. And for Dr. Lawson, it's a story that began this past summer on — of all places — Facebook. "Mike Rowe has this new show called 'Returning the Favor,' where he highlights people he calls 'Bloody Do-Gooders,'" Dr. Lawson says. "And there was this one episode of an 82-year-old guy in Utah named Alton Thacker who'd built more than 800,000 toy cars for children. And I thought, 'Someday I'd like to do that, too.'"

Read the rest of the story.

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This story originally appeared on the In the Loop blog.

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