While Marcos Ambrose, driver of the No. 9 DEWALT Racing Ford for Richard Petty Motorsports, is not only hoping for a victory at the Monster Mile, he is also racing for a miracle to help children who are ill and being treated at Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.
Ambrose will also have some additional inspiration with special children’s names on his race car, as well as the incentive of a $1 million donation to the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals if he wins.
“Today we’re here to race for a miracle,” Marcos Ambrose said as he and the children unveiled the special paint scheme on his car for the weekend. “We have the names of a whole bunch of kids being treated and what they are treated for on the car.”
“If we win on Sunday, we will donate one million dollars,” Ambrose said. “If we finish second, we will donate $500,000 and third, a quarter million.”
“Even if I crash on lap one, they will donate $100,000,” Ambrose continued. “It’s a real inspiration to race for these kids and we’re going to do everything we can to race for these kids this Sunday.”
One of the children that Ambrose is racing for is Grayson, a three year old who was diagnosed with a brain stem tumor on Halloween.
“We are currently being treated at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia,” Jaclyn Savery, Grayson’s mom, said. “Through CHOP, the Children’s Miracle Network asked us to participate in this event as a way to give Grayson a special memory to go through fifteen months of chemotherapy.”
“He’s had four brain surgeries,” Savery continued. “So, this is an experience for him.”
“Every little boy likes race cars so he is very excited to be part of this.”
Savery and her family have been most impressed with how kind and friendly all the NASCAR stars and community, even icon Richard Petty, have been to them at the track so far.
“This is all very brand new to us,” Savery said. “Mr. Petty went right up to Grayson, gave him an autograph and took pictures with him.”
“We spent yesterday and today with Marcos and it was the same thing,” Savery continued. “He was so warm and Grayson thinks Marcos and Mr. Petty are very cool people.”
Grayson not only unveiled Ambrose’s race car with his name on it, but he also toured the track and will be an honorary pit crew member on Sunday. What he hopes most to do, however, is to present Children’s Miracle Network with the million dollar check in Victory Lane with his new friend Marcos.
“So, he is right in the thick of it all,” Savery said. “Grayson was just diagnosed so this is not an easy time in our family.”
“But experiences like this bring us together as a family,” Savery continued. “It’s memories and things we look at during this dark time in our lives as a bright spot.”
Racing relationships like this have been critical for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which includes 170 children’s hospitals across North America.
“It’s just incredible for our families and our children to see the support of the racing community,” Miranda Barnard, Vice President of Communications for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, said. “This is our 30th year and every single hospital needs donations.”
In fact, Barnard advised that their network of children’s hospitals provides $6,500 dollars every minute in charitable care so programs like this one are critical. With the exception of special programs like ‘Racing for a Miracle’, she also shared that most of their other donations come in one dollar at a time.
“Through ACE, we have been able to have the ‘Racing for a Miracle’ program,” Barnard continued. “Through partners like the Ace Foundation, who has raised $54 million for us over the years, we’re able to cover much of the care that is not covered by insurance.”
“So, all the kids at the hospitals are cheering for Marcos and hoping he wins.”
The Children’s Miracle Network is also fortunate to have Ambrose’s sponsor Stanley behind the promotion as well.
“StanleyBlack and Decker has been a partner with Ace and the Children’s Miracle Network for years,” Tony Merritt, Director of Corporate Motorsports Marketing, StanleyBlack & Decker, Inc., said. “This has grown from a paint scheme on the car to a full-blown promotion.”
“Individual ACE stores participate by running their own promotions,” Merritt continued. “We are doing a hospital event in each city, with games and even a pit stop demonstration.”
“In our busy, busy lives, we get stressed about things,” Merritt said. “When you spend time with these kids, you understand we don’t have stress in our lives.”
“These kids are fighting the biggest battles of their lives,” Merritt continued. “The last couple days have been very humbling to everybody.”
“We just wanted to bring a little joy to the lives of these children.”
Ambrose and his team most certainly brought joy when they all made the visit to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to meet the children.
“We had some fun with the kids, setting up a display area and got to play games,” Ambrose said. “We brought the show car and had a race car at the front.”
“They appreciated and enjoyed it,” Ambrose continued. “It’s good to do and spread a bit of sunshine.”
But for driver Marcos Ambrose, carrying the names of sick and struggling children on his race car is personal. And he intends to get the best finish he can at the Monster Mile for each and every one of them.
“I’ve got two young kids at home so seeing kids at the hospital this weekend, I’m reminded of how lucky we are as a family,” Ambrose said. “I will use this as an inspiration because these kids getting treated at the hospitals all have such a positive outlook, in spite of going through these tough times.”
“They are an inspiration,” Ambrose continued. “To have a chance to win a million dollars for these kids is inspiring.”