CONCORD, N.C. – Prior to the start of Sunday’s Daytona 500, Alex Bowman invited some of his partners from Nationwide to his hauler.
There, he surprised them with a donation – and a special gift.
“We really appreciate all of Nationwide’s support on and off the racetrack, so as a token of our appreciation from myself and the 88 team, we’re going to make a donation to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital,” Bowman said on a video he shared on Twitter.
The donation will go toward the school classroom in the Inpatient Rehab Unit, which serves all age groups. While patients are under the care of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, the staff teacher collaborates with the patient’s home school teacher to keep the child connected to their classroom.
"We are extremely grateful for Alex and the entire team 88 racing crew for their continued support of Nationwide Children's Hospital and the Inpatient Rehabilitation Program," said Niki Shafer, senior vice president, outreach, for the Nationwide Children's Hospital Foundation. "It's natural to think the No. 1 goal is to return patients home, but our focus is to ensure patients successfully transition back to school as well.”
Specifically, Bowman and the No. 88 team’s donation will help improve and enhance the technology and materials in the classroom, which first opened in 2012.
Examples include iPads for teaching students, adaptive switches to allow students that can’t easily access a computer or iPad to apply different levels of pressure to activate their devices, adjustable furniture to accommodate a wheelchair, a classroom library and parent resources.
“Having a dedicated classroom on the rehabilitation unit enables staff to follow the patient's school curriculum and maintain communication with teachers and parents,” Shafer explained. “Because of this gift from Alex Bowman, we will be able to implement technological enhancements and equipment improvements to help keep our patients on a strong academic track during their stay at Nationwide Children's."
In addition to the donation, Bowman also presented his teammates at Nationwide with artwork painted by a service dog at the hospital named Beck.
Check out the artist in action below!