Giving Back: Kyle and Pattie Petty Turn Grief into Joy

Patti RodischAnalyst IDecember 4, 2008

We all know drivers and crews and members of NASCAR community all believe in giving back. In a time of year when giving should be better than receiving, I am going to each week look at two charity organizations within NASCAR that do just thatgive back.


Victory Junction Gang Camp Mission Statement: Enriches the lives of children with chronic medical conditions or serious illness by providing life changing camp experiences that are exciting fun, and empowering, in a safe and medically sound environment.

The VJGC was founded by Petty Enterprises driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie Petty after the tragic lost of their son Adam. The camp is year round and serves children age 6 to 16. With 128 kids per session.

This was Adam Petty's dream, he wanted to build a camp for children. Sadly, he is unable to see his own dream come true today.But through him his parents and thousands  of others get to see his dream in the children who attend this camp.

These children come from all over the country but primarily they come from the southeast to this camp. In 2008 the camp announced they would be opening up another camp in the Kansas.

Many of NASCAR drivers have donated time or resources to the camp. Tony Stewart used his dirt track race at Eldora Speedway in Ohio to raise one million dollars for the opening of the new camp. Kurt Busch in May helped open the Kurt Busch Superdome that is a softball field that gives every kid a chance to step up to the plate.

Three-time Sprint Cup winner Jimmie Johnson, last year opened up Victory Lanes Bowling with electronic scoring and music and a arcade. With ramps to help every bowler throw a strike.

Kids can go fishing and climb the Alpine Tower, or go out into nature and try new things. Empowering these children to let them know that no illness can stop you from achieving your goals.

So many other drivers work with the camp sponsoring cabins or giving up their time to  hang out with some well deserving kids.

I was truly moved by this. I know that every driver does great charity work, for thousands of children and adults. But in reading how the Petty family turned their grief into something for others truly inspired me.

So in the spirit of giving I wanted to give back myself. This camp which runs on the donations of others is in constant need of many things. Things that even with the drivers support it's hard to keep in stock. It's the small things, things that make a campers visit a lot easier and or add just a little something special to the experience.

I am truly inspired by the children who fight these diseases and battle hard and even in their toughest days find a way to teach us that life is so much bigger than we think. I was blessed to not have been ill as a child and I have very good health now. So why not?

Why not now? There is no better time than the present to do something good.

My plans are to collect as much of these items from local businesses where I live.That's where you come in, whatever you can donate, whether it be a couple of gift cards from gas stations or from Home depot.

Or cleaning supplies, medical supplies.If you are unable to donate you can help spread the word.

I have created a link to the Victory Junction Gang Camp website, you can click on "Wish List" and see all the items they need.Or you can contact me by checking out my blog which will have the list of things needed posted.

No child ever deserves to be ill, every child deserves to experience being a child to it's fullest.


Next week: Kasey Kahne Foundation and The Greg Biffle Foundation.