INDIANAPOLIS — The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation celebrated 10 years of support for Riley Hospital for Children during a news conference in the hospital’s atrium Thursday.
The four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion was joined by 10 Riley Hospital cancer survivors from each of the years the bowling tournament has been held, including 20-year-old Plymouth resident John Montgomery, who was diagnosed in 2004, and 5-year-old Tatum Gumpf of South Bend, diagnosed in 2010. Also present was 7-year-old Emily Hampton of Simi Valley, Calif., whose life was saved because of research led by Riley physicians.
The 11 Riley Hospital patients participating in the event surprised Jeff with a personalize Riley bowling ball and bag during the news conference. Jeff returned the favor as all inpatients at Riley Hospital received an autographed Jeff Gordon Hero Card.
Since its first gift in 2001, The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has donated more than $1.58 million to Riley Hospital for Children. In addition, Gordon made a pledge of $1.5 million to Riley Children’s Foundation in 2010, establishing the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation Pediatric Cancer Research Fund. The fund provides vital resources for Riley Hospital/Indiana University School of Medicine researchers seeking to impact treatments, therapies and cures.
Funds from The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation are creating a $1 million endowment for research conducted in partnership between Riley Hospital and the Wells Center for Pediatric Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine. The remaining $500,000 is addressing immediate research needs at Riley Hospital.
The Wells Center for Pediatric Research exists to push forward novel drugs and strategies for cancer prevention and treatment. Focus is on developing programs that will ultimately have a clinical impact and create therapeutic advances that can be rapidly assimilated into the treatment of pediatric cancers. Research groups are developing a program to understand the molecular basis for tumor cell development, progression and eventual new and novel therapeutics.
Village Pantry convenience stores sold Jeff Gordon-themed paper icons in support of Jeff Gordon’s partnership with Riley Hospital, and has raised $100,000 for Gordon’s Bowling Ball.
Jeff Gordon honored 11 Riley patients during the news conference and bowling event, including Montgomery, Gumpf and Hampton. Other honorees were: Leah Wasson, 5, of Pittsboro, Rhea Roller, 20, and Tatum Parker, 10, of Indianapolis, Adrianna Weber, 10, and Kate Madigan, 8, of Columbus, A.J. Stinger, 11, of Marion, Carly Chapman, 17, of Zionsville, Will Shepler, 10, of Greenfield.
Since its inception in 1999, The Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation has awarded nearly $10 million to the country’s top childhood health organizations. These organizations are instrumental in helping tens of thousands of children facing serious illness.
The partnerships developed over the years have brought much-needed aid to patients and families with incredible financial burdens, provided life-saving medical treatment and help to fund promising new cancer research and treatment programs.