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Johnson adds two charities to Helmet of Hope

CONCORD, N.C. (Aug. 18, 2009) – National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid Atlantic Chapter (Charlotte, N.C.) and KidsPeace (Raleigh, N.C.) are the newest additions to the Jimmie Johnson Foundation’s Helmet of Hope, the race helmet Johnson will wear during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Auto Club Speedway in October.

SPEED Channel’s John Luzzi nominated the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Mid Atlantic Chapter, which helps more than 7,400 individuals in western North Carolina and the state of South Carolina impacted by MS. The organization provides comprehensive support services and educational programs to people with MS, their family and friends and raises money to fund cutting edge research into the cause and cure of multiple sclerosis.

“This past February I received confirmation that I have Multiple Sclerosis,” Luzzi said. “Doctors suspected that I had the early stages of the disease in 2003 after I temporarily lost sight in my right eye (optic neuritis). Following an MRI, it was revealed that there were indeed more lesions on the right side of my brain.

“Multiple Sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system affecting the brain and spinal cord. Everyday, more than 400,000 Americans wake up not knowing if they will be able to see clearly or walk. These individuals will face a lifetime filled with unpredictability and uncertainty. I want to turn that uncertainty into hope.”

Thomas Swieca nominated KidsPeace, which is based in Orefield, Pa., and created to give hope, help and healing to children facing crisis.

“Kids Peace is a national organization that has been helping kids in crisis for over 100 years,” said Swieca, of Pinehurst, N.C. “I believe in their mission to help kids one at a time by giving them hope when many kids need help. I personally worked in their therapeutic foster care program in North Carolina and have seen the benefits of the program. They are very deserving of being featured on Jimmie’s helmet.”

Lowe’s Toolbox for Education also is featured on the helmet. The foundation is partnering with the Lowe’s program to raise funds for education initiatives in Johnson’s hometown of El Cajon, Calif. The funds will be raised through the third annual Jimmie Johnson Foundation Golf Tournament, which will be held Oct. 7 in San Diego.

Johnson will draw two charities each race weekend until the Sept. 20 Cup event at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for a total of 12 winning organizations.  The first two charities chosen were Victory Junction (Randleman, N.C.) and Zepp Children’s Foundation (Westminster, Md.). Each winning charity will receive a $1,048 donation in addition to proceeds from the sale of a Helmet of Hope t-shirt.

Fans can nominate their favorite charity by visiting www.jimmiejohnsonfoundation.org

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