News & Media

NASCAR Foundation reaches $1M donated to Speediatrics

July 25, 2012, Official Release,

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Cartoon characters adorn the ceiling above each hospital bed. There's Curves, and Wally Wingman, and of course, Airgun Annie. Autographs -- as if in a clubhouse -- pepper the walls, from the likes of NASCAR legends Dale Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson. There's a play room and photos and fun -- ways to pass the time, anything to get a child's mind away from the stress of illness.

"Here at the Speediatrics unit everything is excellent, everyone is nice," said Daytona Beach resident Aatifa Holder, mother to Dimitri Wills, a current patient at Speediatrics. "We've been here due to an asthma attack that Dimitri suffered. I've told everybody about all the characters on the walls because I haven't seen this sort of environment at any other hospital. Dimitri enjoys it here, he feels comfortable."

Dimitri is one of more than 2,000 children a year who receive care at the NASCAR-themed Speediatrics unit of the Halifax Medical Center in Daytona Beach, a program that reached a major milestone on Wednesday. The NASCAR Foundation presented its annual $150,000 donation to the Speediatrics unit, raising its total contributions to the unit to more than $1 million since the partnership was established in 2006.

"When the foundation began, we had grand dreams of being able to help Speediatrics and other worthy causes in this manner," NASCAR Foundation chairwoman and Speediatrics founder Betty Jane France said. "Those dreams have been realized -- and then some. I am so very proud of what the foundation has been able to accomplish on Speediatrics' behalf. Halifax's Speediatrics unit is close to my home ... and my heart."

The mission of the NASCAR Foundation's Speediatrics program is to create a healing environment where children always come first. Through its support of the unit, the foundation continues to help children suffering from illnesses lead healthier and happier lives through state-of-the-art medical care and a strong recovery process -- all in an energetic, colorful environment.

France led the check presentation during a special ceremony at the Speediatrics unit. Attendees included NASCAR president Mike Helton, NASCAR Vice Chairwoman and Executive Vice President and International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Lesa France Kennedy, Daytona International Speedway President, Joie Chitwood, The NASCAR Foundation Board of Directors, Halifax Health CEO Jeff Feasel and Daytona Beach Mayor Glenn Ritchey.

The Speediatrics unit is a NASCAR-themed, 32-bed pediatric unit, a pediatric emergency department and a five-bed pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) located in Halifax Health Medical Center. Highly experienced physicians and pediatric intensive-care specialists supported by a team of skilled nurses care for more than 2,000 children each year, including about 300 of those receiving care in the PICU.

"The NASCAR Foundation's dedication to the Speediatrics Unit at Halifax Health has been paramount to its growth and development over the last six years," said Jeff Feasel, President and CEO of Halifax Health. "We are more than grateful to have this longstanding relationship with Betty Jane France, the entire France family and the NASCAR Foundation. Their contributions have assisted Halifax Health in providing a warm and positive environment for all of the patients of the Speediatrics unit."

To learn more about Speediatrics visit; or, to learn more about the NASCAR Foundation and other philanthropic activities in the NASCAR community, including information on how to donate and volunteer, visit NASCAR.COM/foundation.