What started as a text message from JD Motorsports team owner Johnny Davis to team employee Alex Tauras has now become a hero card drive extending across the motorsports world, centered around an eight-year-old fan with a terminal illness.
Cooper, a young race fan from Oklahoma, is currently battling Stage 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma, which is a tumor that forms when cells in the central nervous system (including the brain and spinal cord) begin to multiply rapidly. An ependymoma is anaplastic if the cells grow very quickly and are significantly unusual in shape.
Cooper had let it be known that he’d like some hero cards of some race car drivers, and Tauras, who runs the JD Motorsports social media pages, spread the word through the team’s social media accounts including the team’s official Reddit account, where he then posted to the r/NASCAR community. From there, the drive took off as several fans began sending in not only hero cards, both signed and unsigned, but diecasts and T-shirts as well.
“I figured that if Cooper liked racing and just wanted hero cards, I’m sure other people would join in and send us some of their duplicates,” said Tauras. “Little did I know, that would quickly blow up. From the time I created the post, even till now, I’m getting messages from NASCAR fans all over the United States asking what they can send him. To be honest, I really had no real intention on doing something like this, but it’s funny how God puts you in places and situations.”
“As of right now, I think we’re somewhere in the high 30s for diecasts of all sizes, maybe a few hundred hero cards, and one guy is sending us about 1,200 trading cards along with a variety of stuff.”
One r/NASCAR community member, user /u/GarageguyEve, cross-posted the drive over to the Reddit INDYCAR community, r/INDYCAR, where several fans from that community have also teamed together to send young Cooper some more racing swag. Among those from the community Andretti Autosport, who saw the post on the INDYCAR Reddit, has been in contact with JD Motorsports to help send more to Cooper.
Texas Motor Speedway and some members from Hendrick Motorsports are also reaching out and sending packages to Cooper, but the icing on the cake may happen on November 7, as Cooper has been invited to be a guest of JD Motorsports for the November race weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
JD Motorsports issued a thank you to the fans through their Reddit account, stating that the drive was “not only a testament to what the NASCAR/Motorsports community is capable of, but it’s a testament to the kindness, compassion, and resolve that our community has.”
According to Tauras, room is running out with the number of items they are receiving for the drive, so the team plans to send the items out this week so it can arrive early enough and fall into place accordingly as Cooper is currently recovering at home.