David Ragan is preparing for an exciting and busy week and weekend with the Shriners Hospitals for Children. Ragan, Front Row Motorsports (FRM) and the Shriners Hospitals for Children will begin Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to unveil its NASCAR “Throwback Weekend” paint scheme. On Friday, Ragan and FRM will visit the patients at the Shriners Hospitals for Children- Chicago. Ragan will again reunite with popular patient ambassador, Alec before visiting with the other patients and staff.
Finally, Ragan and FRM will host Shriners Hospitals for Children- Chicago patient Drew Beutel at Chicagoland Raceway. Ragan returns to the track with the Shriners Hospitals colors on his No. 38 Ford Mustang.
Beutel, 12, from Naperville, Illinois suffers from transverse myelitis- a rare spinal cord injury disorder that can leave children partially paralyzed, with limited mobility and bladder and bowel problems. In 2010, the family brought Beutel to Shriners Hospitals for Children- Chicago, where a team of pediatric spinal cord injury specialists began a care plan for him. The hospital’s family-centered care and services reassured his parents during Drew’s treatment.
“Shriners Hospitals is unique in the way they care about the whole child and their family,” said Drew’s mother, Liz. “They make a hospital feel fun and social, rather than the typical sterile and cold environment you might expect. Shriners Hospitals for Children- Chicago is Drew’s favorite place!”
Beutel, now a seventh grader, can walk for short distances with leg braces and forearm crutches. He stays healthy and active by participating in wheelchair and adapted sports. Beutel is frequently found on the Chicago Shriners Hospital indoor wheelchair basketball court shooting hoops and making friends. In his spare time, he loves competing with a traveling wheelchair basketball team called Synergy Adaptive Athletics.
Beutel just completed two weeks of intensive outpatient rehabilitation at Shriners Hospitals for Children- Chicago using some of the latest technology with physical, occupational and recreational therapists. Shriners Hospitals will continue to support Drew and his family as he rolls, walks and plays his way in a healthy, independent life.
Ragan has a day of activities planned for Beutel, including a tour of the garage, his hauler and joining him during all the pre-race activities before Sunday’s race. The family will stay and watch the race with special seating made possible by Camping World.
“I’m really excited about the next two weeks really,” said Ragan. “We kick things off tomorrow at the NASCAR Hall of Fame to unveil our Darlington car with the Shriners Hospitals for Children before heading to Chicagoland. I’m actually going to Nashville next week to participate in the Shriners International Imperial Session- a gathering of Shriners across the country. So, we have a big next two weeks.”
“But, it’s always an honor to host a patient and donors at the track,” added Ragan. “They all enjoy seeing the Shriners Hospitals for Children car, taking tours of the garage and hauler and just acting like a normal child at the races. Because of the great work the Shriners Hospitals do, these patients can do normal things.”
Ragan has been a member of Shriners International since 2012 and serves as its NASCAR ambassador. He visits Shriners Hospitals during the race season and raises awareness and funds for Shriners Hospitals for Children through various campaigns, public service announcements, donations and activities. Earlier this year, Ragan auctioned off 2018 Shiners Hospitals for Children race car at the Barrett-Jackson auction. The winning bid, made by Rick Steele of Select Blinds, raised $300,000 for the Hospitals.
Shriners Hospitals for Children provides specialized care to children with orthopaedic conditions, spinal cord injuries, burns and cleft lip and palate regardless of the families’ ability to pay.