Johnson, Hamm Team with Breast Cancer Survivors and NASCAR XFINITY Series Drivers to Paint Pit Wall Pink
NASCAR superstar Jimmie Johnson and soccer legend Mia Hamm joined forces with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina and hundreds of the world's bravest and strongest women who have battled breast cancer to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness Month early by painting pit wall pink on Wednesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The ceremonial event saluted those whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer and provided a fun morning for hundreds of survivors, who met Johnson and Hamm in the winner's circle, used 40 gallons of paint to turn the pit wall pink and unveiled a pink Toyota Camry pace car that will lead the NASCAR XFINITY Series field in the Drive for the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina on Oct. 7 at Charlotte's iconic 1.5-mile superspeedway.
"The NASCAR industry takes great pride in the month of October," said Johnson, a Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand ambassador for more than a decade. "It's a pleasure to be here and I'm honored to be a part of this. It's great that the NASCAR community and Charlotte Motor Speedway support this great cause.
"Certainly, being a father of two daughters, this awareness (is important) and I hope we have a cure by the time they're grown up."
Hamm - another longtime Blue Cross and Blue Shield brand ambassador - joined 400 breast cancer survivors and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina employees in donning pink shirts to support the cause. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina also presented Susan G. Komen with a check for $25,000.
"I'm really, truly in awe of all those (taking part)," Hamm said. "I'm excited to paint the wall pink in honor of the survivors who fought as hard as they can and I'm glad to honor their families who were there every step of the way."
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Chief Service Operations Officer Lisa Cade - a breast cancer survivor - said she was floored by the amount of support offered by others who have fought a similar battle.
"There are many people still facing cancer today and there's an emotional drain but with events like this, we prove that we can support one another," Cade said. "When you have support from family and friends and events like this, you can face your cancer with much more determination."
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina brought its expansive "Live Fearless" display to the speedway to promote the urgent need for preventative healthcare, early detection and finding a cure for breast cancer.
In addition to Sprint Cup Series driver Matt DiBenedetto and NASCAR broadcaster Hermie Sadler - who emceed the event - NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers Elliott Sadler, Bubba Wallace, Brandon Jones, Ryan Reed, Blake Koch and Jeb Burton took part and previewed next Thursday's Drive for the Cure 300 presented by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, the final race in the first round of the inaugural XFINITY Series Chase.
"This kind of hits home for me," said Burton, whose mother, Tabitha, beat breast cancer last year. "The little bit of painting I did was pretty neat. Hopefully it'll be a great race night with a big turnout."
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