DAYTONA BEACH, FLA., Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award – The national finalists for the Fourth Annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award were announced at Kansas Speedway by The NASCAR Foundation, kicking off the voting process for fans at www.NASCAR.com/award.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award honors the unwavering commitment that The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France has demonstrated through philanthropy and community service. The award is presented annually to a dedicated NASCAR fan that has made a profound impact on the lives of children in his or her local community.
This year’s impressive group of finalists includes: Tammy Anderson-Lee, representing Autism Society San Diego where she has developed adaptive swimming programs for children with autism; Amber Larkin of Windermere, Florida, founder of the Noah’s Light Foundation, which is engaged in the fight against pediatric brain cancer; Chris McElwee of Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, founder of Michael’s Way, an organization providing financial assistance to families of children with cancer; and Daniel Noltemeyer of Louisville, Kentucky, who helped establish Best Buddies Kentucky, which promotes social inclusion for people with developmental disabilities.
“These finalists personify what our award is all about,” said France. “They demonstrate commitment and compassion, putting their hearts and souls into their volunteer efforts that benefit those in need. These are four very special NASCAR fans. We are honored to have them as our 2014 award finalists.”
The finalist with the most votes will receive $100,000 for the children’s charity they represent and personally receive a 2015 Toyota Camry provided by Toyota, the award’s 2014 Official Car Sponsor. The three remaining finalists will earn a donation of $25,000 for their children’s charity from The NASCAR Foundation. Additionally, each finalist will also receive an at-track VIP experience during the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
The national winner will be announced on Friday, Dec. 5 during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards show at Wynn Las Vegas, which will be nationally televised live on FOX Sports 2.
“With each year, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has grown in terms of awareness and prestige,” said NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Lorene King. “And for that, we are indebted to our sport’s fans. Their support has been vital each and every year with our online voting turnout. We ask again for their support this year.”
The Finalists are:
Tammy Anderson-Lee (San Diego, California) has volunteered her service to Autism Society San Diego for the last 13 years, developing techniques to teach autistic children how to swim. Drowning is the leading cause of death for children with autism under the age of 14. She has created the “Pool PALS” (Pool for Persons with Autism Learning to Win) program, an innovative initiative consisting of three components: an adaptive swimming lesson program; free monthly pool and pizza parties for the children involved; and the “Surf Camp for Persons with Autism.”
Amber Larkin (Windermere, Florida) founded the Noah’s Light Foundation in 2010. At the time, her young son Noah was one year into a battle with pediatric brain cancer, a fight he tragically would lose in 2012. The Noah’s Light Foundation’s mission is to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer by supporting visionary doctors in pediatric oncology, funding new research, raising awareness, and enriching the lives of the brave children struggling with the disease. Larkin is championing the development of a new protocol called “NOAH Protocol” that hopefully will lead to a cure for brain cancer.
Chris McElwee (Fort Washington, Pennsylvania) lost his brother to leukemia, a personal tragedy that led to him founding Michael’s Way in 1996. The organization’s mission is to lessen the financial burden on families of children with cancer. Since Michael’s Way was formed, approximately $400,000 has been distributed annually to families in need. McElwee is credited with raising millions of dollars himself over the years. One hundred percent of all donations received by Michael’s Way go directly to families affect by children’s cancer.
Daniel Noltemeyer (Louisville, Kentucky) is a 32-year-old with Down syndrome who was the driving force behind the establishment of Best Buddies Kentucky, part of the national Best Buddies social inclusion program for people with disabilities. Noltemeyer writes and speaks extensively to foster awareness of Best Buddies Kentucky. In 2012, he wrote an editorial in the Louisville Courier Journal that addressed discrimination often experienced by people with Intellectual Development Disabilities. Noltemeyer also is a high-profile Best Buddies Ambassador for Best Buddies International.
To learn more about the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award and each of the national finalists, please visit.the NASCAR website here.