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Dream Racers unveiled at Levine Children's Hospital

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Aug. 11, 2010) – Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, car owner Rick Hendrick and members of the Dreamcatcher Society gathered Wednesday at Levine Children’s Hospital to unveil the Dream Racers, four new patient transit options.

Patients at Levine will travel in style in the NASCAR-inspired Dream Racers, which are designed to move the children easily and safely around the hospital while providing a fun distraction from the anxiety of hospital visits. Among many features, the cars are outfitted with a flat screen TV connected to a gaming system and a racing-style roll cage.

“These cars allow the children to have some imagination and play while they’re in the hospital,” said Martha Whitecotton, president of Levine Children’s Hospital. “That’s what it’s about. It’s about bringing some normalcy to a child’s life when they’re in the hospital. If you can take their mind off why they’re here for two hours, two minutes or two seconds; just let them be children. What these cars do for us is let them be children. They ride around in them, play games inside them, pretend like they’re driving a race car. At the same time, it can hold their IV, their oxygen so it’s adapted for their medical needs as well.”

Three of the Dream Racers are wrapped to match the paint schemes of Hendrick Motorsports drivers Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. The fourth Dream Racer features the Dreamcatcher Society, which made the cars a possibility with its fundraising efforts.

“Just to see the paint schemes of our cars in here with the kids makes you feel really good,” Hendrick said. “Our hope is that they can ride around the hospital in these, get well and come out to Hendrick Motorsports and see the real cars. To see the kids have a little bit of fun, have a smile on their faces – I’m really proud when I walk through and see the cars in our paint schemes.”

The Dreamcatcher Society is a group of caring, young Charlotte professionals who have dedicated themselves to enhancing the programs and services that benefit the patients at Levine Children’s Hospital. Members of the Dreamcatcher Society hold social events throughout the year to raise funds through a five-year, $5,000 commitment.

“The Dreamcatcher Society is more of a grassroots effort,” said Patrick Hobson, a member of the Dreamcatcher Society. “It’s likeminded families with young children who wanted to make a difference in the community. What I like about the Dreamcatcher Society that I didn’t understand before is the money we raise, which is about $1.5 million to date, goes to fund Child Life services and special programs like these Dream Racers. Without the Dreamcatcher Society we might not be able to fund things like this. It enables the hospital to fun programs that make a difference in the lives of the children and the hospital serving them.”

The Dream Racers are the third major project the Dreamcatcher Society has helped to fund for Levine. Previously, the organization helped create a Children’s Hospital Area Transit System and an indoor robotic transport system.

For more information about the Dreamcatcher Society, visit www.DreamCatcherSociety.org.

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