Gordon's Other Goal
- Nov 09, 2004
- Team Hendrick
In October, four-time champion Jeff Gordon took to the track with a different goal in mind. As he navigated his go-kart around NASCAR Speedpark, he raced not to win, but to raise as much money as he could for those suffering from leukemia and other blood-related diseases.
For the past four years, Gordon has dedicated his “Go-Kart Challenge” and “An Evening with Jeff Gordon” charity events to help raise funds for the Jeff Gordon Foundation and the Hendrick Marrow Program, a charity founded by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick in 1997.
Participants in the go-kart event fundraiser had the chance to race against Gordon and raise money to help those in need at the same time. This year more than 120 corporate participants came out to challenge Gordon on a figure-eight go-kart track.
After the Go-Kart Challenge ended, things switched gears as Gordon’s next charity fundraiser, “An Evening with Jeff Gordon,” kicked off. The dinner and live auction event were held at the Charlotte Westin, with Carolina Panthers Mike Minter and Mike Rucker serving as co-emcees.
Gordon presented a check for $100,000, a portion of the funds raised during the course of the day, to Rick Hendrick, who was on hand to accept the donation on behalf of the Hendrick Marrow Program.
Another highlight of the evening came when Sean Mitchell, a marrow donor met his recipient, Valerie Sics, for the first time. Sics credits Mitchell for saving her life with his selfless gift.
After Hendrick Motorsports won back-to-back NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championships in 1995 and 1996, Hendrick was diagnosed with leukemia. During his treatment and recovery, he became keenly aware of the challenges that other patients and their families endure in their struggle to find a life-saving marrow match as well as the resources to cover uninsured transplant-related expenses.
To help these patients, he established the Hendrick Marrow Program in collaboration with The Marrow Foundation. To date, the Program has raised more than $3.5 million for marrow donor recruitment, patient assistance, and research.