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Cole Pearn to honor late friend with fundraiser for family next month in Toronto

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A testimonial to Cole Pearn’s best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in early August, as well as a fundraiser for his family will be held Friday, Jan. 5, at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.

Pearn’s lifelong friend, Jacob Damen, died unexpectedly after contracting a fast-moving bacterial infection on August 3.

Pearn, crew chief for the 2017 NASCAR Cup championship for Furniture Row Racing, will oversee the gala event, which will be held from 7 to 10 p.m. ET.

The evening will also include an appearance by 2017 NASCAR Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., silent and live auctions, the opportunity to meet both Pearn and Truex and other events.

All net proceeds from the evening will be given to the Damen Family Fund.

“We miss our buddy Jacob dearly,” Pearn said in a media release. “We all have family and friends that fill a space in our hearts that is irreplaceable.

“Jacob filled the hearts of his wife Carolyn, his sons Lucas and Nolan, his parents Jerry and Kim Damen, twin brother Tyler, sister Julia and countless friends.

“We are going to celebrate his life at the perfect spot, the Hockey Hall of Fame, to support his beautiful wife Carolyn and the two boys, Lucas and Nolan. I can’t wait to get home to celebrate with everyone.”

Click here for more details and to purchase tickets to the ‘Jacob Damen Friend and Fan Remembered’ event.

Cole Pearn laments over ‘worst week of my life,’ dedicates win to best friend

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Cole Pearn went through the toughest week of his life, as he had to carry on his duties as crew chief for Martin Truex Jr. and the No. 78 Furniture Row Racing Toyota, while thinking about the sudden death of his best friend, Jacob Damen.

Damen died Thursday from a fast-moving bacterial infection at the age of 35.

“It’s been probably the hardest week of my life,” Pearn said after Truex won Sunday’s race at Watkins Glen. “It’s still … it’s not over yet.  I lost my best friend growing up this week.  He caught a random bacterial infection from a cut and basically died in a day.

“It’s not like he was sick. I talked to him the day before. They were coming to Michigan next weekend. So just doesn’t seem real still. He’s got two little boys that are not going to know their dad pretty much. We’ll get through it as a group. We were lucky to have an unbelievable friend support and family around that will make sure everybody is all right.”

When asked to describe Damen, Pearn said, “(He) was a heart‑of‑gold guy that. I don’t know. I still haven’t come to terms with it, to be honest.”

Pearn dedicated the win to Damen, and planned to fly Sunday night back home to Strathroy-Caradoc, Ontario in Canada to attend Thursday’s funeral.

“It was about the worst week of my life so far,” Pearn told NBCSN. “To be able to win this for you, Jake, is just unbelievable.

“It’s going to be a tough week, but at least we’ll all be together,” Pearn said. “It just seems surreal. The whole week hasn’t seemed real and hasn’t yet. I can’t wait to get back home tonight to see everybody this week will make it a lot better to deal with.”

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