The NASCAR Foundation awarded Jeff Hanson its fifth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Friday night at Sprint Cup Awards.
Hanson, 22, was one of four finalists voted on by fans at NASCAR.com. Hanson receives a $100,000 donation from the foundation to the charity he represents, the New York-based Children’s Tumor Foundation, and a car from Ford.
“Jeff Hanson’s story is inspiring and his accomplishments are impressive,” said France, who presented the award Friday night. “This is a resilient and immensely talented young man we have become proud to know – and even more proud to have as our fifth annual award winner.”
At the age of 6, Hanson was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that infected his optic nerve. Undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments caused Hanson to go legally blind at the age of 12. Hanson then took up creating paintings with bright colors for people with limited vision. Selling them from his driveway in the summer of 2006, Hanson raised $15,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.
“What this means to me … is I’m thrilled, I’m honored,” Hanson said. “It means so much to me, that I can help the Children’s Tumor Foundation with a $100,000 donation.
“Being recognized by such a well-known name as NASCAR is a win for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and for neurofibromatosis, helping to raise awareness of a disorder that affects one in every 3,000 people. The money that we receive from The NASCAR Foundation will be used to launch an exciting new research program aimed at improving the lives of people like me who live with NF and help us get a little closer to finding a cure.”