Michigan: Honorary crew member - Gabrielle Ford

Gabrielle Ford Named Local Hero for the Sprint Cup Series Race Weekend at Michigan International Speedway Ford Shares Her Inspiring Lifestory in Her Autobiography STILL DANCING: One Dream, One Dog, One Stage Ridding the World of Bullies One...

Gabrielle Ford Named Local Hero for the Sprint Cup Series Race Weekend at Michigan International Speedway

Ford Shares Her Inspiring Lifestory in Her Autobiography STILL DANCING: One Dream, One Dog, One Stage Ridding the World of Bullies One School at a Time

STATESVILLE, NC (June 8, 2010) - As a child, Gabrielle Ford loved to dance and dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina. That dream was shattered by a rare genetic neuromuscular disease, Friedreich's Ataxia, that would eventually place her in a wheelchair. Gabe not only struggled with the devastation of the illness, but endured constant and cruel bullying from classmates. The constant torment took her on a path of depression and isolation. Today, Gabe's incredible story has drawn media attention from The Today Show, Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Animal Planet among others. Her 2009 autobiography, STILL DANCING, shares the inspirational details from her life as a way to encourage others that anything is possible and for that, Gabe has been named the 'ExtenZe Local Hero' for the Helluva Good! Sour Cream Dips 400 race weekend at Michigan International Speedway.

Ford, 30, never dreamed that a long-eared coonhound could change her life. But that's just what happened when she cared for her ailing pet Izzy and found the voice to help others in need as a nationally-known motivational speaker. Izzy became Gabe's best friend and a constant companion. When this special friend mysteriously developed a condition mirroring Gabe's, Gabe re-entered the world to get Izzy the best treatment available.

Speaking out for the voiceless Izzy gave her the courage to speak out for another voiceless group: the thousands of children bullied in American schools every day. Through countless personal trials, Gabe found her way back to the stage as an outspoken advocate against school bullying. In addition to reaching thousands of students in schools across the country, she has also been a keynote speaker at various conferences such as the International Reading Association's Annual Convention in Phoenix, Arizona in 2009. Her dedication even earned her the Community Hero Award in 2009 from the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce. Upcoming engagements include the Michigan Reading Association's Annual Convention in Grand Rapids Michigan in March 2011.

"We hear more and more stories everyday it seems in the news about school bullying and kids and teenagers taking their own lives because of the constant torment," said Conway, the leading NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Rookie of the Year driver. "This is a problem that can't be taken lightly and Gabe's story is just remarkable and what she is doing to combat school bullying is amazing. Every school in this county and afar needs to have Gabe come speak to their students. Her story has touched and changed so many lives already."

Read thousands of comments from students from across the country that Gabe has touched at www.gabeandizzy.com.

The 'ExtenZe Local Hero' program pays tribute to people who have gone to great lengths to make a difference. Those selected have faced danger, sacrificed their own safety for others or in some way displayed leadership that changed their community for the better. Award recipients become ExtenZe Racing Honorary Crew Chiefs, receive a tour of the paddock, attend the pre-race NASCAR Driver/Crew Chief meeting, and sit atop the pit box with Crew Chief Peter Sospenzo to root on rookie driver Kevin Conway piloting the royal blue and red No. 34 ExtenZe Ford Fusion. Each recipient also receives a $1,000 award from ExtenZe, the world's best selling male enhancement product, in recognition of their selflessness.

NOTE DISCLAIMER: Although Gabrielle Ford is receiving a check, community hero award, and publicity from ExtenZe for recognition as a community hero, Gabrielle Ford is not affiliated with, authorized by, endorsed by, or in anyway officially connected with ExtenZe, or ExtenZe products or services, nor does she endorse any of ExtenZe' products or services, or any products or services of any ExtenZe' affiliated company.

-source: frm

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Kevin Conway