Westbrook, CT: On Saturday, January 10, 2009 the Racing Against Cancer TM Team celebrated the 12th Annual Awards Luncheon at the Foxwoods Resort Casino paying tribute to its heritage and its group of devoted supporters. During the emotional ceremony, a number of contributors shared the spotlight for their outstanding fundraising accomplishments during the 2008 racing season. Throughout the year, the Racing Against Cancer (RAC) Team members collectively raised over $53,000 for the fight against cancer.
“Despite the downturn in the economy the Racing Against Cancer TM Team was one of the few charitable organizations to show an increase,” said founder Jon Blanchette proudly.
During the event, Founder Kelly Turner of the CHAIN Fund and Barbara Ducharme, Executive Director of the Tomorrow Fund each accepted checks for $2,500. Founder Dick Cyr of David’s House received $5,000 and Bruce Marshall the Vice President of Income Development for the New England Chapter of the American Cancer Society was presented with a check in the amount of $25,000. The remainder of the funds will go to support the Youth Tobacco Awareness Program, the 2009 Celebration of Life event, and other RAC Programs.
“This program is so unique and so special,” said Joe Jimenez, Executive Vice President of Casino Marketing for the Foxwoods Resort Casino. “This is more important than any marketing plan that I have ever put together. Thank you for taking [Foxwoods Resort Casino] along for the journey.”
The cumulative fundraising total, after 12 years of operation, for the Racing Against Cancer Foundation is over $634,000.
“For the first-time ever both the incidents and death rates of all cancers cumulatively have declined in both men and women,” said Marshall of the American Cancer Society. “There are over 11 million cancer survivors in the United States. You are helping to save lives and I applaud you for that. Thanks to your efforts 11 million people are sitting down with their families having dinner tonight.”
It took a lot of people, countless hours, a number of events, and tireless efforts to get to that benchmark for the 2008 season. High points of the year included the Wings & Wheels event at the Waterford Speedbowl. With a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales going to RAC, the event raised over $6,200. The GoMotorBids.com and Speed Sport News online auction helped bolster fundraising efforts as well. After Tony Stewart piloted a Modified in 2007 as a fundraiser for RAC, body panels from the car and his autographed fire suit were auctioned off raising in excess of $4,000. The nationally recognized Big E Fair at the Eastern States Exposition provided the occasion for the RAC management team and countless volunteers to raise well over $20,000 for the Racing Against Cancer TM Program.
The awards ceremony included two very emotional presentations. A group of dedicated volunteers that included Heather Sica, Bill Doll, Kristen Phillips, Guy Beaudoin, and Norm Moriarity, who helped with the execution of the 17-day fundraising effort at the Big E Fair in West Springfield, MA, were presented with the 8th Annual William J. Fales Spirit of Sportsmanship Award, for their unwavering dedication to the program. These exceptional team members made up the Platinum Level contributors that are the cornerstone to the success for the program. The Richmond Karting Speedway Management and Race Teams collectively were awarded the 7th Annual Jodi B. Blanchette Outstanding Achievement Award for demonstrating outstanding achievement and leadership efforts in helping the Racing Against Cancer TM Team exceed its fundraising goals.
A host of organizations supporting the RAC Program were lauded for their Gold Level ($1,000-$4,999) contributions. By selling lap sponsorships during an event in 2008 at Whip City Speedway along with other fundraising endeavors, Kristin Phillips of the East Coast Mini Sprint Association helped to raise $4,100 in support of RAC. Racing brothers Shawn and Diego Monahan treated race fans at the Wings & Wheels event at the Waterford Speedbowl in August to a grudge match within the SK Modified feature event. With the help of Pataya Flooring & Stone Supply Company of Niantic, CT, who stepped in with a matching contribution, the good-natured endeavor helped to raise an additional $1,500 to the already outstanding night of fundraising for the RAC Program.
Motivated by her mother’s diagnosis with cancer, Kim Blackstone implored Howard Payne of the New England ATV Series to support the Racing Against Cancer Program. No stranger to the program, Payne and Blackstone jumped in to organize several fundraising events that ultimately raised over $1,740.
“We look forward to doing more for the Racing Against Cancer Program next season,” said Payne. “We will support the program 100% in 2009.”
Dave Crout ($1,895), Steve Pukas ($1,179), and Larry and Mike King ($1,000) were recognized for their outstanding individual efforts. Junior Ambassador-Gold level contributors also included Austin Brehio, a competitor at Sugar Hill Speedway along with young Richmond Karting Speedway racers Alicia Perry, Tommy Stilhen, Izzac Collins, and Willie Pelotte.
Individuals honored for their contributions to the program at the Silver level (raising $250-$999) included the Strumpf Family, Paul Tuthill, and Czarnecki Brothers Racing. Junior Ambassador-Silver level contributors included Richmond Karting Speedway racers Wade, Wyatt & Scott Blanchette, Joe Lynds, Taylor Robertson and Elle Burbank.
During the awards program several Speedways were recognized for their efforts including Sugar Hill Speedway (Weare, NH); Richmond Karting Speedway (Richmond, ME); Poughkeepsie Speedway (Poughkeepsie, NY); Route 106 Speedway (Pembroke, NH); Stafford Motor Speedway (Stafford, CT); Thompson International Speedway (Thompson, CT); Thundering Valley Speedway (St. Albans, ME); Waterford Speedbowl (Waterford, CT); and Whip City Speedway (Westfield, MA). Racing organizations honored for their support of the Racing Against Cancer Program included the East Coast Mini Sprint Association, New England ATV, North East Pavement Series, and the South Shore Outboard Association.
Other contributors to the success of the Racing Against Cancer Team include Speedway Illustrated, Jim Reed and KOOL 101 FM Radio, and the Stadium Sports Bar & Grill. Speedway Illustrated hosted the Racing Against Cancer Team during the annual SpeedwayEXPO. That along with a spirited Dunk Tank fundraiser (with the help of Shawn Courchesne of the Hartford Courant) kicked off the season with some much-needed funding. Reed and KOOL 101 were instrumental and promoting the Wings & Wheels event and ultimately helped to guarantee its success not only as a racing event but as an RAC Fundraiser. Ned Nichols and his staff at the Stadium Bar and Grill hosted the 2008 Daytona 500 Party helping to raise over $900. Amsoil Dealer Richard Bowling, Sherwin Williams Automotive Finishes, Times Publishing, MAACO, and Smith Bros. Transmissions were also recognized.
The 2009 Fundraising season kicks off at the 50th Anniversary of the Frank Maratta’s Auto Show on February 6-8, 2009 at the Connecticut Expo Center followed by SpeedwayEXPO at the Big E Fair at the Eastern States Exposition on February 27-March 1, 2009.
The Racing Against Cancer program is a federally recognized 501(c) (3) non-profit organization dedicated to the raising of funds for cancer research, patient services, youth tobacco educational programs, and awareness.
The C.H.A.I.N. Fund, Inc. is Financial Assistance and a Social Intervention Network for Cancer Patients. We’ve aided the less fortunate for 5 years now. Many of those we helped were able to get back on their feet and start their lives a new.
The Tomorrow Fund is the only non-profit organization that provides daily financial and emotional support to children with cancer and their families who are treated at Hasbro Children's Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island.