Learn Live Hope Golf Classic supports a personal case of Rick Hendrick

Charlotte, Nick – A great day of golf was set aside for a better day at the Hendrick Family Foundation’s Learn Live Hope Golf Classic on Monday.

Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports and Chairman and CEO of Hendrick Automotive Group, has hosted the annual event since 2004. Nearly $1.3 million was raised from the event, which was held in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Pictures: Scenes from Learn Live Hope Golf Classic

All four Hendrick Motorsports drivers – Alex Bowman, William Byron, Chase Elliott and Kyle Larson – were there to support the cause and mingled with the golfers. Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman and four-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion Jeff Gordon, three-time Crew Champion Ray Evernham, and ESPN’s Marty Smith were also on hand with former NFL defensive linebacker Jason Seehorn who was the head of the pre-game celebrations. . Venice kicks off the event.

The main beneficiary of this year’s Learn Live Hope Golf Classic was Be The Match. Each year, thousands of people are diagnosed with life-threatening blood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Be The Match, run by the National Marrow Donation Program, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping every patient get the life-saving transplant they need. Be The Match operates the world’s most diverse marrow registries and provides groundbreaking research, innovative technologies, patient support and education to help save lives. According to its website, The Be The Match Registry is the largest cellular registry in the world with more than 8.5 million individuals. Be The Match has facilitated more than 86,000 transplants worldwide since its inception.

The reason is personal to the race team owner as he was diagnosed with leukemia in 1996 and underwent treatment to overcome his cancer diagnosis.

“Anytime you’re diagnosed with cancer, it’s hard to go through with your family,” Hendrik told the audience. “Jeff (Gordon) and the guys in motorsports (Hendrick) decided let’s put the 1-800-MARROW2 in the car on Jeff’s dashboard. Jeff won the DAYTONA 500 and we ran 1-2-3. I think Good Lord was taking care of him at that. Today. Normally, they get about 100 calls and we jammed the phone lines.”

Related: Gordon’s Corvette for a Cure to raise money for children’s cancer research

Gordon’s 1997 DAYTONA 500 victory on February 16, 1997 was his first of three wins in the crown. The 1-2-3 result with Terry Labonte coming in second and Ricky Craven in third was the organization’s first sweep of the top three in team history. Evernham was Gordon’s chief of staff that day.

“You realize how important that day was,” Gordon said. “I don’t think any of us had any idea that day would happen the way it did or that it would be lit up with all these phone calls. Since then, I think everyone now understands the importance of being able to donate bone marrow and understanding and realizing how difficult it can be once you’re out. From your immediate family – How hard is it to find a suitable match We must enter people into the registry.

“Twenty-five and (1-800-MARROW2) on the car for many years after that certainly made a huge impact. It’s something we’ve all been proud of over the years.”

The sad moment came that day when golfers saw the power of Be The Match come to life in the form of Leighton, an 11-year-old who was diagnosed with stage 2 lymphoma at the age of five. After treatment at two different points for the cancer, he was in remission. Then, nine months later, she was diagnosed with stage 4 lymphoma and it was in the bone marrow. Her family turned to Be The Match to find a bone marrow transplant in 2020. On Monday morning, Leighton met the donor who helped save her life, Katie, at Learn Live Hope Golf Classic.

“You really see the difference you make in people’s lives and in my life,” Hendrick told the group of golfers after everyone witnessed the meeting of Leighton and Katie and their passionate embrace.

The Hendrick Family Foundation’s recruitment drives account for 24 transplant donors. For more information on Be The Match, click here.

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