The Jessie Rees Foundation and the Graham Rahal Foundation are the next two charities selected for the 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which Johnson will wear in the June 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
Each organization will receive a grant of $10,000 and a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.
Fan Kim Redman nominated the Jessie Rees Foundation, which is committed to spreading hope, joy and love to kids fighting cancer globally. The foundation was inspired by Jessie Rees, who passed away in January at the age of 12 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Jessie’s dream was to find a way to encourage every kid fighting cancer, and her motto was Never Ever Give Up. Her dream is what drives her foundation.
Redman wrote in her nomination, “While Jessie lost her battle with cancer, her beauty remains in making a difference in the lives of other children with cancer. We should all hope to spread this amount of joy in our entire lifetime. Jessie accomplished so much in her 12 short years.”
Associated Press reporter Jenna Fryer nominated The Graham Rahal Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children with medical conditions. The foundation supports SeriousFun Children’s Network founded by Paul Newman (formerly the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps) and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
“Because Graham worked tirelessly to create and raise funds for the Dan Wheldon Memorial Auction, I wanted to reward his own foundation, which works with several children’s charities,” Fryer wrote in her nomination.
The Jessie Rees Foundation, headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and the Graham Rahal Foundation, based in Columbus, Ohio, join the United Way of Siouxland, Nature Conservancy, Chill Foundation, Fisher House, Scott Lake Elementary-PTO, Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Dan Wheldon, First Descents, Boys & Girls Club of Central Sonoma County and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina as charities that will be featured on the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope.
The Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant, special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities across the United States.
This year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign runs for six consecutive Sprint Cup race weekends. It began April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway and runs through the Mother’s Day weekend Sprint Cup event at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. Each week Johnson draws one winner from a list of media submissions and one from a list of fan submissions.