The Jeff Gordon Foundation Launches Collectible Bear on QVC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (September 22, 2006) - The Jeff Gordon Foundation is launching the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital Bear on QVC® with a $10.00 donation from every bear purchased directly benefiting the children’s hospital. Jeff Gordon, four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, is scheduled to appear on QVC’s “For Race Fans Only” live from Dover International Speedway on Friday, September 22, 2006.  The show airs from 9 -10 p.m. EDT.

The bear, named Wellobee Highbanks, was designed as the mascot and plush toy for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at NorthEast Medical Center in Concord, N.C. This cuddly, lovable bear will deliver hugs and smiles to help children feel comfortable and safe when they visit the hospital for medical care. The collectible version, created by Boyd’s Bears, is the first in a series of collectible bears that are planned to be offered each October in time for the holiday season.

Wellobee Highbanks, the “Grand Opening Bear,” sports a gold medallion with “December 16, 2006” -- signifying the grand opening date of the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital -- on one side and the children’s hospital logo with “Ltd Ed. of 1500” on the other. His paw also features the children’s hospital logo.

"This bear is just one way that we can continue to help support the children’s hospital and bring comfort to a child during their stay," said Gordon, driver of the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet.

"Not only is the bear a comfort to the children in the hospital, but the proceeds from every bear purchased will go directly to the children’s hospital to help with the specialized medical care for children from birth to age eighteen."

The mascot for the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital received his official name, Wellobee Highbanks, through a naming contest among the Jeff Gordon Network members and employees of NorthEast Medical Center. Three names were chosen of those submitted, with the winner selected through an online vote. The voting was close and a decision was made to give the bear the two top names, providing him with a first and last name.

Cheri Pancost from Bath, Mich., submitted the name Wellobee and Michael O’Connell submitted the name Highbanks. Both are Network members and will receive a signed bear from Gordon and a certificate acknowledging their contribution to helping name the bear.

“The positive impact of the Jeff Gordon Foundation on our new children’s hospital is being expanded by announcing the arrival of the Wellobee Highbanks bear,” says Carol Lovin, VP of Strategic Planning and Marketing at NorthEast Medical Center. “Designed for serious collectors and seriously-ill kids alike, this cuddly keepsake has the potential to reside in thousands of holiday stockings as well as on hundreds of children’s beds after patients are admitted to the new hospital. We are very pleased to welcome Wellobee “home” to NorthEast.”

Wellobee Highbanks was created to raise awareness for the children’s hospital, generate funds to support the hospital, but ultimately to be a comfort to the children that visit the hospital for medical care.   

About NorthEast Medical Center
NorthEast Medical Center, www.northeastmedical.org, is a regional 457-bed, not-for-profit medical center, with a reputation for excellence built on advanced technology, medical staff talent, quality, and compassionate care. Solucient, www.solucient.com, a leading healthcare information company, has named NorthEast Medical Center to its 100 Top Hospitals® list under the category of Teaching Hospitals . In addition, Health Grades, www.healthgrades.com, has rated NEMC “Best in the Region” for overall cardiac services, while simultaneously naming the medical center as “Best in the Region” for cardiac surgery over each of the past five years. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) has proclaimed NorthEast Medical Center as the 58th facility in the U.S. and Europe to officially achieve Magnet Hospital status. Following the completion of an 18-month construction project, the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital will be opened on the main medical campus for its first patients in early 2007. Based in Concord, North Carolina, NorthEast Medical Center has 4200 employees serving in more than 26 facilities located throughout the region.  

About The Jeff Gordon Foundation  
The Jeff Gordon Foundation was established in December of 1999, by the four-time Cup Series champion to support the physical, social and intellectual needs of children and their families. The Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Riley Hospital for Children, The Marrow Foundation in partnership with The Hendrick Marrow Program and the Jeff Gordon Children’s Hospital at NorthEast Medical Center in Concord, NC. For more information, visit www.jeffgordonfoundation.org.