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Learn Live Hope raises $770,000 for children charities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 28, 2010) – NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers and other area celebrities teed off earlier last week at the Ballantyne Hotel and Golf Club to support Learn Live Hope, a benefit for the Hendrick Marrow Program and Levine Children’s Hospital.

The two-day event, supported by title sponsor Bank of America Merrill Lynch, featured a Celebration on Sunday night and the Celebrity Golf Classic on Monday, raising more than $770,000 for the charities. The Celebration kicked off at the Ballantyne Golf Club where dinner was served on the putting green and a live auction was available for guests to bid on merchandise and signed memorabilia. During the Celebration, Jackson Porter met his bone marrow donor, Jerald Propst, for the first time. Propst donated the life-saving marrow last year to 3-year-old Porter, who was diagnosed with chronic granulamatous disease (CGD) when he was just one.

“When Jackson and Jerald met, it became very real for everyone in attendance,” said Courtney Hurd, director of the Hendrick Marrow Program. “This isn’t an abstract concept our sponsors are supporting; it is real life-changing work.  These sponsors represent hope to patient families like Jackson’s who depend on the Registry to find a marrow match for a loved one.”

Propst, of Morganton, N.C., was selected from more than seven million members of the Be The Match Registry® of potential marrow donors. The transplant took place on Feb. 6, 2009, at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., just four-and-a-half hours west of Porter’s hometown of Fayetteville, Tenn. Today, Porter is healthy and will celebrate his fourth birthday on July 27.

“It is really special to see everyone come together to support the Hendrick Marrow Program and Levine Children’s Hospital,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and chairman of Hendrick Automotive Group.  “When you see the impact these programs have on the lives of our children, we know it’s important that we keep this good work moving forward. I am so appreciative of all of our sponsors and business partners that stand with me in supporting these two organizations.”

During the Celebrity Golf Classic, Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. joined other celebrities to support Learn Live Hope. Johnson, an avid golfer, participated in the tournament and his foursome included NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Brian Vickers, Scott Smith and Lowe’s CEO Robert Niblock.

Other celebrities who participated included: Sprint Cup drivers Kurt Busch, Boris Said and Juan Pablo Montoya; former NBA player Dell Curry, Carolina Panthers head coach John Fox and several players, as well as commentators Jeff Hammond and Mike Joy.

On select par-three holes during the tournament, a hole-in-one meant winning a new car from one of Hendrick’s local dealerships. Casey Sites, the used car manager at Rick Hendrick Imports in Charleston, S.C., aced the fourth hole and won a black 2010 Chevrolet Camaro donated by City Chevrolet. The first thing he did was call his fiancé, who he will marry next month.

The Hendrick Marrow Program works with Be The Match FoundationSM to support the work of the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP) and has added more than 90,000 new members to the Be The Match Registry..  Created in 1997, the Hendrick Marrow Program has raised more than $8 million and helped ease the financial burden of treatments for more than 4,000 families with grants from the Hendrick Family Fund for Patient Assistance.

Next year, the Hendrick Marrow Program and Levine Children’s Hospital will partner again in this event.

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