For the first time, they're seeing the light of day.

Ralph Reiff wanted to have it that way.

"Those are things that I keep personally in my office which I don't share with others very selfishly," said the program director of St. Vincent Sports Performance at his Northeast side office.

But this occasion-a sad one at that-warrented their move from Reiff's office to the main lobby of the performance center. On a six-foot table atop a blue cloth sit four racing helmets that from a distance don't differ from others in the Izod IndyCar Series.

Sure their designs are a bit different, but nothing extremely radical considering the many takes on the safety device's design.

Why they are so dear to Reiff is two fold: They belonged to Dan Wheldon, a long time client of St. Vincent Sports Performance who died in an accident during the Las Vegas Izod IndyCar Series race on October 16th.

That's the primary reason they made the small journey to the lobby, but its their artist that provides the reasoning for the move.

"Part of that, was Dan's idea, was to get involved with Peyton Manning Children's Hospital," said Reiff of the helmets, which were designed by patients of the northside treatement center.

With help from the hospital's marketing department, forms were passed out to willing patients to color in or draw a design for one of the helmets which Wheldon would wear. The winning entry-picked by Wheldon himself-would be used on his helmet for the race following the Indianapolis 500.

Sophia Banker was one of those who submitted an entry into the contest, with a bit of encouragement from her mother Diane in 2008. She'd been coming to the hospital from her hometown of Bedford for six years as he tried to battle a brain tumor.

"It was a plaid design," said Banker of the helmet design. "That's what her blanket was. For dan to pick that out, he had to be a real man to have the ability to wear pink."

That earned them a trip to the Milwaukee race that year, which provided a thrill for the family to see the helmet get used in an IndyCar Series race. But the most excitement came weeks before, when Wheldon came to meet Sophia at the hospital in person.

At that moment, a champions open-wheel driver became or world class therapist.

"It's very difficult for Sophia to be around a group of people and Dan had that ability to put us all at ease," said Banker, who acknowledged that Sophia shed some of her shy ways around Wheldon. "We feel it was a gift that we were able to meet their family and he made a positive impact on us.

"He seemed to have so much empathy for our situation and what Sophia was going through."

This meeting would prove to be part of many that Wheldon would have with children in the hospital, and his actions during these visits were as important to patients as winning two Indianapolis 500s and the IndyCar Series championship.

"He would come for scheduled 45 minute visit and he wouldn't leave for four hours," said Peyton Manning Children's Hospital specialist Molly McCloud of Wheldon. "He had to sit on the couches with the kids and he would hold the babies and he would hug parents and he was gonna get everybody's story-regardless of how long it took.

"He had no agenda when he was here, it was all about the kids and the families."

Reiff, who began working with Wheldon before he even had a full time ride in the Izod IndyCar Series, remembers the instant connection which the driver had with the children. Having escorted many famous sports athletes on similar tours, it was Wheldon that garnered the most reaction.

"Dan was the kinda visitor that made nurses and physicans nervous because there were no barriers, he would just go," said Reiff. "As we would go down the hallway of the children's hospital people would be looking out the door-parents and others-just couldn't wait for Dan to get to their room.

"I've been there with others celebrities and so forth but Dan just had this Santa Claus kind of effect that kids couldn't wait for Dan to get to their room."

Wheldon's death brought obvious shock to Reiff, Banker and McCloud, who will miss the connection that he had to so many children. Its unknown if the helmet design contest will continue now that he's died, but the memories of what he did will always remain fresh.

"He did make a difference," said Banker of Wheldon. "It could have been that he just did what he needed to do and move on but he was much more interested in just the surface.

"He really cared and went the extra mile."

Just like he did in the venue that he went 500.