Dale Jr. Foundation’s ‘Driven to Give Gloves’ program returns

(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)

The Dale Jr. Foundation has announced that its “Driven to Give Gloves” program is returning after debuting last season and raising $97,000.

The program teams with the Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, to raise awareness and funds for the hospital’s clinical and research programs. In 2016, the focus will be on four of the hospital’s Patient Champions through four different colored race gloves Earnhardt will wear and auction during the NASCAR season. The color of the gloves – with their skeleton-themed design – will be inspired by illnesses suffered by the Patient Champions.

The four Patient Champions will be present at the July 9 Sprint Cup race at Kentucky Speedway.

“The Driven to Give Gloves program was very successful for The Foundation last year,” Earnhardt said in a press release. “I’m looking forward to doing it again with a little different format in 2016. We’re teaming up with Nationwide Children’s Hospital to represent four Patient Champions that we will have coming to Kentucky Speedway in July. Nationwide’s commitment to our team and our Foundation is very gratifying and means a lot to everyone involved.”

This year’s campaign begins in April and Earnhardt will change glove colors in May, July and November.

“Last year we brought out the ‘Driven to Give Gloves’ program as an initiative to help spread the word about The Foundation and its mission,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JR Motorsports and vice-president of TDJF in the release. “It was very successful in doing that and highlighting Patient Champions from Nationwide Children’s Hospital sharpens our focus on helping children in need. This program also allows us to help further Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s pioneering work in pediatric medicine.”

Here is the complete list of glove colors to be worn by Earnhardt and the Patient Champions the TDJF will aid in 2016:

April – Blue Gloves (Autism); 8-year-old Aiden Vanwagner: Aiden was diagnosed with Autism at an early age but under the care of Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Aiden has received individualized and comprehensive interventions and is enjoying school in a mainstream classroom. Researchers at Nationwide Children’s have many active research projects underway to determine causes and effective new treatments for autism.

May – Lavender Gloves (Pediatric Cancer); 15-year-old Grant Reed: On May 7, 2012, Grant was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a brain tumor in the back of the head near the brain stem. The tumor was removed three days later but through the removal he developed a syndrome that left him with severe complications and he was admitted to the inpatient rehabilitation unit at Nationwide Children’s where he regained control of his speech and physical abilities. An avid NASCAR fan, Grant loves following the sport and his father has a history of working in the industry.

July – Gold Gloves (Hearing Impairment); 11-year-old Tarissa Suchecki: Tarissa was born more than two months premature and suffered from complications. She spent the first seven months of her life at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. One of her complications was profound hearing loss. Despite many challenges, Tarissa has grown into a beautiful young lady who enjoys fourth grade and pageant competitions. Nationwide Children’s Hospital is home to America’s largest neonatal care network and research center.

November – Gray Gloves (Diabetes); 11-year-old Dalton Miller: In December 2012, Dalton was diagnosed with Type I diabetes but that has not stopped him from being a very active young man.  He works closely with his clinical team to manage his condition carefully letting him live a normal life.  He is very aware of his illness and constant monitoring of his food and beverages has helped him learn his math skills.