Winner gets $100,000 for their organization and a Toyota.
The names of the four finalists for the the fourth annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award were announced Friday morning at Kansas Speedway, home track of the winner of the third edition of the Award. The photo shows Betty Jane France from a previous appearance in 2009.
This year’s finalists represent organizations which are battling to help children who in no way should be touched by the ravages of the physical and mental challenges they face.
The winner of the Award will receive $100,000 for their organization and a Toyota Camry for themselves.
Deciding the winner from the list of four finalists will be fans, who can cast votes at NASCAR.com/award. Also available at NASCAR.com/award are videos and bios of the four finalists.
Those finalists for the award, whose namesake is Chairperson of The NASCAR Foundation:
– Daniel Noltemeyer (Louisville, Kentucky) was the driving force behind the establishment of Best Buddies Kentucky, part of the national Best Buddies social inclusion program for people with disabilities. Daniel writes and speaks extensively to foster awareness of Best Buddies Kentucky, addressing discrimination often experienced by people with intellectual development disabilities.
– Chris McElwee (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) founded Michael’s Way in 1996, a nonprofit dedicated to lessening the financial burden on families of children with cancer. Chris is credited with raising millions of dollars himself over the years with 100% of the donations going directly to affected families.
– Tammy Anderson-Lee (San Diego, California) has volunteered her service to the Autism Society San Diego for the last 13 years, developing techniques to teach autistic children how to swim, as well as creating and leading the “Pool PALS” (Pool for Persons with Autism Learning to Win) program.
– Amber Larkin (Windermere, Florida) founded the Noah’s Light Foundation in 2010, a nonprofit dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric brain cancer. Amber is championing the development of a protocol – it is called “NOAH Protocol”. Learn more about Amber Larkin’s story and cast your vote at NASCAR.com/award.
NASCAR Foundation backs it
Unveiling the list of the finalists Friday was Lorene King, the NASCAR Foundation’s executive director.
Joining her on the Kansas dais were VIPs like NASCAR President Mike Helton, Kansas Speedway president Pat Warren and driver Alex Bowman.
Without a doubt the most inspirational person on the dais – the most valuable of those persons – was Don Post, the latest winner of the Award.
Post, confined to a wheel chair after being diagnosed with ALS – known commonly as Lou Gehrig’s disease – was told by medical professionals in 1980 that he had three to five years to live. The native of Kansas City not only proved doctors wrong, he’s used his extended life expectancy to help others.
Post 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 13 years, and has been the event’s chairman since 2010.
Winning the Betty Jane France Award did not mean an end to Post’s massive commitment to helping others. This year, the bike ride collected over $800,000 for the March of Dimes.
On Friday, Warren read a statement from Post, about what the Award has meant to him.
“Last October I had the great honor of being selected as one of the four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Award,” the statement read. “And that kicked off the most exciting time of my life.”
Post joked in his statement that the Award turned him into a “rock star.” He was named winner at the post-season NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards in Las Vegas.
After Friday’s press conference, Post looked nothing like a rock star. He looked far to humble as he listened to Warren praise his efforts and list the good he has done for his community.
Helton said many more stories like Post’s are in the offing as the Award continues to grow in popularity and successes – thanks to Betty Jane France.
Betty Jane France started it all
“Betty Jane France has been huge in making sure that all of us at NASCAR understood our responsibility as influencers,” Helton said, “And as good citizens of every community we go to, to build a program that can be a halo type program as opposed to a competition or a sporting event.”
NASCAR Wire Service, Jim Pedley