Team Seattle raises funds for kids

Team Seattle Raises $368,900 for Children's Hospital at Rolex 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 6, 2005) -- Although the members of Team Seattle did not spray champagne in Daytona International Speedway's victory lane on Sunday, they still...

Team Seattle Raises $368,900 for Children's Hospital at Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 6, 2005) -- Although the members of Team Seattle did not spray champagne in Daytona International Speedway's victory lane on Sunday, they still consider themselves victors at this year's Rolex 24 At Daytona. In the ninth year of the program, which raises money for Seattle Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center, the eight drivers of the two-car effort were able to raise $368,900 during this weekend's race--far more than ever before.

"This is way beyond the most we've ever raised," said Don Kitch Jr., Team Seattle founder and driver. "The most we had raised before this year was $260,000. So we're $100,000 over that easy. And we couldn't have picked a better group to do it with than these guys at Synergy Racing."

Kitch and his teammates, Don Gagne, Chris Pallis and Don Pickering, were the highest finishers of the pair of Team Seattle entries, taking 14th in the GT class and 29th overall in the No. 80 Porsche sponsored by Who's Calling, Shred-It and Pipeservicestt.com. Mae Van Wijk, David Murry, David Gaylord and Rod Emory finished 21st in class and 39th overall in the No. 81 Porsche sponsored by Kid's Country, Shred-It and Autobysite.com.

"I'm just really happy to have the chance to work with these guys," said Houston, Texas-resident Van Wijk, who joined Team Seattle for the first time this year. "They're the best guys I've worked with so far. I know by far this is one of the best teams as far as friendship that came together this year. I'm also happy to be a part of being able to raise some money for the hospital and help other people, too."

The two Porsches combined to complete a total of 1,069 laps, far greater than its maximum lap goal of 700 laps during the race. Each lap earned Children's Hospital $527, the largest amount pledged per lap since the program's inception in 1997.

"Our absolute dream was to get to $500 a lap," Kitch said. "To get over that is simply amazing."

This year's Team Seattle effort was dedicated to Children's Hospital patient Elaina Bosler, who was saved by her treatment at Children's Hospital by Dr. Gordon Cohen when she was only a few weeks old. Wanting to show their appreciation to the hospital that saved their daughter's life, Elaina's parents made a major financial commitment to Team Seattle this year and made the trek to Daytona to show their support.

"We want Elaina to look back at the photographs of this weekend and see all her family did to support the hospital that saved her," Kitch said. "That's why we have her name on the driver suits, car, banners and posters."

Elaina and her parents had quite a bit of company on their trip to Daytona. More than 100 supporters and sponsors of Team Seattle traveled to watch the team compete in the Rolex 24. And when the victory lane celebration was underway for the winning SunTrust Racing team, just as big of a celebration was taking place in the Synergy Racing garage.

"There are a lot of different ways to win," said Kitch. "And it's the children that are the winners in this race."

-sr-

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About this article
Series Charity , Grand-Am
Drivers David Gaylord , Mae Van Wijk , Don Gagne , Chris Pallis , Rod Emory