CONCORD, N.C. – This weekend, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will take to the track at Kentucky Speedway with a specially-designed No. 88 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet SS.
And as part of his Driven to Give Gloves program, Earnhardt will be wearing a pair of pink skeleton gloves to represent Therapeautic Recreation Awareness Month, which focuses on the use of recreation and play as a service to individuals with physical, mental, social or emotional limitations.
Earnhardt debuted the gloves last week at Daytona and will wear them the remainder of the month of July – at Kentucky, New Hampshire, Indianapolis and Pocono.
Following Pocono, Earnhardt’s race-worn gloves will be auctioned off in order to raise funds for the hospital’s research and clinical programs.
Additionally, each month of the program, a Patient Champion from Nationwide Children's Hospital is the focus of the campaign.
This month, 10-year-old Maddie Delaney was honored at last week’s race at Daytona International Speedway with her name above the passenger-side door of Earnhardt’s Chevy.
When Maddie was just two, she underwent a six-hour spinal surgery to release the built-up tension in her legs. She spent almost an entire month on the PT floor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. But, through it all, Maddie never gave up and maintained a positive, upbeat attitude.
Her enthusiasm for life is contagious and she inevitably brightens the day of everyone she meets – including the Earnhardts. On one of his first trips to Nationwide Children’s, Earnhardt met Maddie – she subsequently beat him in a Wii game – and in every visit since, both Earnhardt and his wife Amy make sure to stop by and play a video game or hang out with Maddie. Maddie is currently pursuing her black belt in Tae Kwon Do and enjoys swimming, singing and acting.
All four Patient Champions for 2017 will join Earnhardt at track today for the race at Kentucky.
Nationwide Children’s is America’s largest pediatric hospital and research center with all care provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay.