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The Jeff Gordon Foundation honors heroes

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 8, 2008) – The Jeff Gordon Foundation and the four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon, hosted “A Hero’s Journey” on Wednesday.  The day-long event raised more than $310,000 for the Hendrick Marrow Program. 

The Hendrick Marrow Program works in partnership with The Marrow Foundation to increase access to transplantation by promoting donor recruitment and providing patient assistance to hundreds of children and their families.

The event, which used an ancient Greece setting, began with “The Games” which took place at Victory Lane Karting.  During the morning’s events, teams took to the track for a fast-paced go-kart challenge with their favorite driver, Jeff Gordon.  The go-kart event included nine different heats of two teams with four drivers from each team. Participants and spectators enjoyed lunch provided by Paventi’s Pizzeria, along with a “Question and Answer” session with Gordon as well as team pictures and awards presented to the winning teams.  John Roberts, host of SPEED Channel’s NASCAR Raceday and Victory Lane, joined as the emcee of the event. 

Later that evening, guests attended “The Festival” at the Westin in downtown Charlotte presented by Pacific Technical Resources, Inc.  The Festival included a cocktail reception, dinner, and a live auction.  The highlight of the evening was the introduction by Jeff Gordon of a young hero and guest of honor, Tanner, to his life-saving donor, Tom.  There wasn’t a dry-eye in the room when the pair met for the first time. 

“I am pleased to be a part of supporting the Hendrick Marrow Program and the NMDP; those members of the Registry who have agreed to answer the call if needed are definitely heroes in my mind,” Gordon said. “Not to mention the many brave children who fight for their lives each and every day.”

During the dinner, individuals who were previously, or currently, on the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) Registry were recognized with flowers handed to them by five special children whose lives had been saved from a marrow or cord blood transplant.  A table also was set up for dinner guests to sign up for the Registry during the event, and more than 65 individuals registered throughout the day.  Dr. Jeffrey W. Chell, CEO of the NMDP, was on hand to experience this journey.

”I cannot imagine a better event,” Chell said.  “It was truly such an honor to be a part of this dinner and I look forward to working with The Jeff Gordon Foundation to continue to increase awareness about the NMDP and the great work Mr. Gordon is doing for so many children and their families.”

The night was capped off with a live auction which raised approximately $134,715, and was led by auctioneers Steve Letarte, crew chief of the No.24 DuPont Chevrolet, and Doug Duchardt, vice president of development for Hendrick Motorsports. The dynamic duo helped to pump up the crowd and gain excitement for the wide-range of items, including, a four-day trip for four guests to go salt water fishing in Key West aboard Rick Hendrick’s Custom Merritt Sport Fishing Yacht, Reel Wheels, an ultimate “Charlotte Sports Package” and an all-expense paid trip to the popular vacation spot, Bar Harbor, Maine.