Kansas City Native Wins 3rd Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award
Don Post Receives $100,000 For Local Charity; Other Three Finalists Receive $25,000
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2013) – The NASCAR Foundation is proud to announce Don Post, event chairman of the March of Dimes Kansas City chapter’s “Bikers for Babies” motorcycle ride, as the winner of the third annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France announced the winner during Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at Wynn Las Vegas – the official coronation of 2013 champion Jimmie Johnson.
“Don Post is a hero, pure and simple,” said The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France. “We have so much respect for his accomplishments in the face of personal adversity along with his commitment to helping children who face their own adversity. His story is inspiring, and truly personifies what our award is all about.
“Not only are we honored to present him the third annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, we are honored just to know him.”
In 1980, Post’s life was forever changed when he was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as ALS or “Lou Gehrig’s Disease,” and was told he only had three to five years to live. He retired from his professional job, and despite the ALS diagnosis, he embarked on a 33-year mission of donating his time and talent to charities in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
Post has served on boards of directors and executive committees for a number of non-profit organizations and mentored many young children diagnosed with muscular dystrophy. He has been a member on the March of Dimes “Bikers for Babies” motorcycle ride committee for 12 years, and has been the event’s chairman since 2010.
The $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation will be used to help grow and develop existing March of Dimes programs, including research on how to improve the health of newborns, funding for educational initiatives and community programs such as support groups that help parents cope with their baby’s hospitalization, transition home and even death. Post also receives a new 2014 Chevrolet SS from Chevrolet.
In only its third year, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has donated $525,000 to individuals who are improving children’s lives in their respective communities. With the annual presentation of the award, The NASCAR Foundation’s mission is to honor passionate volunteers and NASCAR fans making an impact with children in their local communities and reflecting the commitment Betty Jane France has demonstrated with her charitable works and community efforts.
“I am truly blessed to be receiving this award from The NASCAR Foundation and I’m even more thrilled to be able to provide $100,000 to the March of Dimes, an organization that is dear to me,” said Post. “The funds will be used to continue the mission of ensuring healthy babies are brought into this world, especially locally in Wyandotte County where premature births and infant mortality rates are above the norm. My love and thanks goes out to all who supported me in this vote.”
Post was chosen as the winner from a group of four finalists by a national fan vote on www.NASCAR.com. The finalists have collectively dedicated 87 years for their charities and impacted nearly 20,000. The volunteers who each received a $25,000 donation to their supporting charities, in recognition of being named as a finalist for the award, are: Duncan Dobie of Marietta, Ga., representing Camp Sunshine; Lisa Hall of Bedford, N.H., supporting CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children); and Richard Johnson of St. Johns, Fla., backing The Alpha-1 Foundation. The four finalists were selected by The NASCAR Foundation board of directors from applicants who have made a significant impact on the lives of children through volunteerism or charitable work. The announcement culminated an eight-week period during which the four finalists promoted their causes and asked fans to vote for them to receive the top award.
Lorri Shealy Unumb Captures 2nd Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award
Lexington, S.C. Native Wins $100,000 For Charity, 2013 Toyota Camry Hybrid
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (December 1, 2012) – During Friday night’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards at the Wynn Las Vegas – the official coronation of 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Brad Keselowski – Lesa France Kennedy, daughter of Betty Jane France and vice chair and executive vice president of NASCAR, named Lorri Shealy Unumb, creator of “Ryan’s Law”, the official winner of the second annual, Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
As a mother of three, Unumb was deeply impacted when her oldest son, Ryan, was diagnosed with severe autism at a young age; she then learned that insurance would not cover the cost of treatment for children with autism. As a result, the 44-year-old drafted a bill – now known as “Ryan’s Law” that has been enacted in 31 other states – to require insurance companies to cover treatments for autism. Unumb also founded the Autism Academy of South Carolina, a non-profit organization that protects the interests of children with the disability and helps families affected by autism. The NASCAR Foundation’s donation of $100,000 will be used to create a scholarship fund to assist children who would otherwise not be able to attend the Autism Academy.
“Lorri Unumb’s story is one of devotion to a child and dedication to a cause,” France said, “She certainly is a most-deserving winner of our second annual award. Lori absolutely personifies what this award is about – and embodies The NASCAR Foundation mission. We are all so very proud to have her as our second recipient, as we know she will continue to fight for the rights of families living with autism.”
Unumb, a 44-year-old Lexington, S.C., native and former Miss Southern 500 Pageant winner was chosen from a group of four finalists by a national fan vote on NASCAR.COM. Through this award, The NASCAR Foundation honors passionate NASCAR fans making an impact with children in their local communities and reflecting the commitment Betty Jane France has demonstrated with her charitable works and community efforts.
“It is hard for me to express what this gift from the NASCAR Foundation means for the Autism Academy of South Carolina,” Unumb said. “This financial donation will give us the footing to build on our services and reach more children in need. We are so thankful for the awareness and recognition that The NASCAR Foundation has created for us and are grateful to everyone who voted to make this a reality.” The three semifinalists who each received a $25,000 donation to their supporting charities are: Ron Eby, of Windham, Maine, representing Camp Sunshine; Michael Jackson, of Duluth, Minn. supporting Starlight Children’s Foundation; and Ali McDonough, of Wilmington, Del. backing The Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation. The four finalists were selected by The NASCAR Foundation board of directors from hundreds of applicants who made a significant impact on the lives of children through volunteerism or charitable work. The announcement culminated an 8-week period during which the four finalists promoted their causes and asked for fans to vote for them to receive the top award.
The NASCAR Foundation is currently taking nominations for the 2013 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. The nomination application can be downloaded at NASCAR.com/foundation. The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 14, 2013.