The NASCAR Foundation is teaming with the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation to launch the Nominate a Cancer Hero campaign. The announcement comes ahead of September, which is designated as childhood and ovarian cancer awareness month.
The program, which includes 40 drivers across all three of NASCAR’s national series, is dedicated to supporting people who have overcome battles with childhood and ovarian cancer. Truex’s girlfriend, Serry Pollex, is a survivor of ovarian cancer.
Fans will have the opportunity to nominate a cancer hero to “ride with” their favorite driver during the September NASCAR race weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Several drivers will auction their driver signature location to be replaced with a cancer hero’s name.
From now through Sept. 1, an eBay auction site is live for donors to bid. People who bid on this program are encouraged to honor a childhood or ovarian cancer champion or a medical provider who made a difference during a cancer patients’ battle. To view a list of participating drivers and to place a bid, visit NASCARfoundation.org/mtjf.
Proceeds from this program will support the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation Children’s Emergency Department in Huntersville, North Carolina, as well as integrative therapies for women and children undergoing cancer treatments and child life services across the racing community.
“The number of projects we are doing and the amount of money we are raising and putting into action is incredible,” Truex said in a press release. “We could not have done all of this without the support of the NASCAR community, great sponsors, and our fans. I appreciate all the drivers who have come on board to make a difference. Sherry and I are so grateful for all of their support.”
NASCAR’s return today at Darlington Raceway (3:30 p.m. ET on Fox) will see the teams of Aric Almirola and Joey Logano using the opportunity to highlight charitable efforts aimed at helping communities during the COVID- 19 pandemic.
The paint scheme of Almirola’s No. 10 Ford will have “#GoodFoodChallenge” on its quarter panels.
Almirola’s sponsor, Smithfield Foods, has develop a way to help families in need through the support of Feeding America with protein donations. On March 26, Smithfield launched the Good Food Challenge with the goal of providing more than 10 million meals. A few weeks later, Smithfield committed to donating more than 40 million servings of protein to Feeding America.
“All you have to do is open your phone and use the hashtag #GoodFoodChallenge between May 12 and May 21,” Almirola said in a media release. “Every time someone uses this hashtag, they instantly provide 10 servings of protein to Feeding America. That’s hard to pass up on.
“We’re obviously extremely excited to get back to racing and compete for a championship, but it’s even more exciting to have the opportunity to help those in need in these tough times by typing three words on your phone and clicking send. I’m blessed to be partnered with a company who, in these times, uses our partnership to give back.”
Logano’s No. 22 Ford will be sponsored by Shell in the Sunday and Wednesday races at Darlington. On the scheme will be a logo for Feeding America. To date, Shell has contributed more than $2 million to support COVID-19 relief efforts across the country.
Shell is also providing 2.5 million meals to help fight hunger in communities in need via Feeding America. Fans can go to fuelrewards.com/moreforgood to donate directly. $1 helps provide at least 10 meals secured by Feeding America on behalf of local member food banks.
On Monday, the Joey Logano Foundation, the NASCAR Foundation, and Elevation Outreach, an outreach ministry of Elevation Church based in Charlotte, North Carolina, are partnering with Convoy of Hope to bring a tractor trailer with 40,000 pounds of food and supplies to approximately 1,000 households / vehicles during its drive-thru distribution at Darlington Raceway. The event will be held from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. ET.
But the wife of the late Bill France Jr. and mother of NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy left a legacy that will go on for decades to come.
France and the NASCAR Foundation established the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2011 to honor NASCAR fans that have made profound impacts upon their community through volunteerism.
The four finalists for the seventh annual Humanitarian Award were announced today.
Shannon Goldwater, Scottsdale, Ariz., founder of Feeding Matters, which specializes in pediatric feeding issues. Said Goldwater, “No children or family will have to suffer the way my children did for so many years.”
Julian Maha, Vestavia Hills, Ala., founder of KultureCity. Oldest son suffers from autism. Said Maha, “The mission is to rethink accessibility in order to create a world of acceptance and inclusion for individuals with unique abilities.”
Tammy Richardson, Las Vegas, Nev., volunteer for the Nevada Childhood Cancer Foundation. Lost her daughter to cancer. Said Richardson, “Every kid in Nevada that comes to Camp Cartwheel, I get to meet. I started a store, I give away toys, I get to be happy, I get to make a difference in the life of a child.”
Chante Gonzalez Vido, Jamul, Calif., founded the Seany Foundation. Is a two-time cancer survivor. Said Vido, “The experience my counselors have given me, I was ready to give that to the next generation of campers.”
One of the four will receive $100,000 to further their efforts in their particular voluntary effort. The winner will be named Nov. 30 as part of the NASCAR Cup Awards weekend in Las Vegas.
Fans are encouraged to go to NASCAR.com/Award to view video vignettes of the four finalists and to cast a vote for which finalist they’d like to see win the award. Voting is open now and continues through Nov. 29.
Since the inaugural Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award in 2011, the NASCAR Foundation has donated more than $1 million to charities across the country.
NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, who stopped by Thursday’s show, spoke highly of the Foundation’s efforts.
“It’s appropriate it’s named after Betty Jane France,” Helton said. “She really took the first lady role of our sport serious and she guided our culture.
“As much as what we do on the racetrack, she was always behind the scenes making sure NASCAR and all the members of NASCAR, particularly the employees of NASCAR, were good community citizens. It’s appropriate to perpetuate her name in this sport. She was a great lady.”
Earnhardt Family Playground provides special place at Rescue Ranch
Krissie Newman said they were looking to add a playground to make school field trips there more of a full-day experience. As they looked into such playgrounds, she met Kendra Wood, an autism teacher at Lake Norman High School, and talked to occupational therapists who provided tips on how to make a playground inclusive for all children.
“We always look for field trips to get out in the community in any sort and this is a great place,’’ Wood said. “Now that they added the playground to it, we can do an outdoor component as well.’’
That’s important because many playgrounds are not as accessible for all children.
“Playgrounds usually aren’t fun for us,’’ Wood said. “We can’t do anything. We can do pretty much everything (here). It’s such a different thing for us, but a great thing, something that I wish other communities would come and look at and try to emulate.’’
The $550,000 playground, which is 10,000 square feet, is named the Earnhardt Family Playground.
A sign says: “To honor our commitment to children and passion for nature, the Earnhardt Family dedicates this playground to Rescue Ranch to support the needs of our community and further its mission for the benefit of those who come and play here. Generations of our family have supported youth, nature and conservation, and the combination of all three. The Earnhardt Family is proud to support this inclusive playground and the hope and joy it will provide for generations to come.’’
Dale Earnhardt Jr. said the family was invited by the Newmans to visit and learn about the ranch. That led to the family supporting the playground. Others who contributed to the playground included Danica Patrick, Denny Hamlin Foundation, Evernham Family Racing for a Reason, Kevin Harvick Foundation, Brennan Poole, Marcus and Cassi Smith, Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and the NASCAR Foundation.
“It was a real good opportunity for us to get involved in our community,’’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “We look for opportunities to get involved in the community and make a difference in the community and this is a really, really incredible place.’’
There’s more Krissie Newman wants to do from building a pavilion at the playground, an adoption center, a memorial garden and a 24-hour emergency vet clinic.
“I’ve got big plans for this place,’’ she said. “I’m just starting.
“We want to teach kids and have them have fun while they’re here, have a good experience and hopefully take a little bit of Rescue Ranch away and make it part of their story. A lot of people remember where they went on field trips as a kid. I want Rescue Ranch to be one of those places in the future where they learned how to take care of animals better, respect the environment and just have a different level of compassion and empathy for living things in general.’’
The NASCAR Foundation will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a Sept. 27 gala in New York City that will feature singer Rachel Platten and also reveal the winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
The gala at the Marriott Marquis will be to commemorate the Foundation’s 10 years of work that has helped raise $25 million.
Betty Jane France, the Founder and Chairwoman Emeritus of The NASCAR Foundation, will present the award named after her to a NASCAR fan who has shown “tremendous dedication to improving the lives of children in their communities.” The efforts of those nominated for the award have helped more than 200,000 children since the award’s inception six years ago. The winner will be chosen following a public vote of four finalists that begins July 13.
Other awards will be given out, including the first Founder’s Award, which will be given to Mark Lazarus, Chairman of the NBC Sports Group.
The Founder’s Award recognizes “contributions to philanthropy through use of time, talent and resources – both personally and professionally – to make a meaningful impact on the lives of children.”
Lazarus serves on the board of governors of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America as well as the board of directors for the Atlanta-based East Lake Foundation. That foundation helps families build better lives through community revitalization with mixed-income housing, cradle-to-college education, and health and wellness programs.
“Mark is simply an exceptional individual, and we could not have chosen a more deserving person to receive this inaugural award,” France said in a press release. “This will make the evening even more memorable and we thank all of our partners for their continued support.”
The annual Children’s Champion Award also will be presented to a medical professional who has “showcased significant contributions, leadership, and dedication to enriching the lives of children.”
The NASCAR Foundation also will announce the launch of the Speediatrics Children’s Fund through a long-term partnership with a New York-area medical organization providing services to children in need.