Kyle, Samantha Busch turn Charlotte pink
October 11, 2013, Ron LeMasters Jr., NASCAR.com
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Kyle Busch is in the middle of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, coming off an unfortunate performance at Kansas Speedway that left him two spots lower in the points than when he went west last week.
On Tuesday night, at 5Church Restaurant near uptown Charlotte, he had put all that away and focused instead on giving back to local families who need help every day.
Through his Kyle Busch Foundation -- and with the direction and passion of his wife, Samantha -- Kyle did the town up pink alongside the Pretty in Pink Foundation in an effort to raise money to aid breast cancer patients in North Carolina.
A corporate fundraising dinner at the Church Street eatery and bar drew interest from Sprint, Toyota, M&M’S, Interstate Batteries, Monster Energy, Joe Gibbs Racing, Dollar General, The NASCAR Foundation and others, with a silent auction as the centerpiece.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this with the foundation,” said Kyle, sitting in the front room at 5Church alongside his wife. “This is the culmination of a year of planning, and it’s something that is very important to us in terms of an opportunity to help people in need. Throughout the year, our foundation helps a variety of children’s charities, and this is something different and very worthwhile.”
The Pretty in Pink Foundation was founded by Dr. Lisa Tolnitch, principal at Tolnitch Surgical Associates, and the current program with the KBF is called “Project Pink: Protect Your Pair.” Pretty in Pink’s mission is to provide financial assistance to uninsured and underinsured breast cancer patients for surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy administration.
They raise money for this funding through a variety of sponsorships, fundraising, donations and pledge drives, and this is the first NASCAR program the group has initiated, said Pretty in Pink’s Amanda Danchi, the marketing and communications coordinator for the group.
“We’re already thrilled with the partnership of Kyle and Samantha,” she said. “This is the first time we’ve been able to get with NASCAR, and we have a special paint scheme for Friday night’s NASCAR Nationwide Series event, and we’ll have 12 or 13 of our Champions on the track for the start of the race with Kyle and Samantha.”
The proceeds from Tuesday night’s dinner/auction will go toward paying medical bills for those Champions, which is what Pretty in Pink calls its recipients.
“We wanted to go a little beyond just awareness,” said Samantha Busch of the program. “NASCAR is very involved with the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with a lot of pink cars out there on the track. We wanted to take it one step further and help our local neighbors who are fighting cancer now.
“The Pretty in Pink Foundation just touched my heart with the many ways they help their Champions throughout the process,” she continued. “I don’t want to have these brave women having to decide between putting food on the table, taking care of their children or paying for chemotherapy.”
Samantha Busch said the fact that Pretty in Pink serves patients inside the state of North Carolina was a major selling point for her.
“One main component of Pretty in Pink services is that they pay medical bills locally in the state,” she said. “As we were reading through the bios, we realized they are right here in our community -- faces we can identify with -- and that made us all realize this was the perfect fit for our campaign.”
Kyle said that Samantha was the driving force behind the dinner/auction, and all the planning and coordination it took to present. Judging by the turnout, it was a smashing success, as more than 150 people crowded inside the restaurant for the proceedings.
In addition to the Tuesday activities, a program hat and T-shirt is on sale through Dec. 1 at KyleBuschFoundation.org and 100 percent of the proceeds will go toward fundraising. A Mobile Mammogram Screening Unit will be on hand at KBM’s race shop in Mooresville on Thursday, from 1-7 p.m., with appearances by both Kyle and Samantha.
Toyota Racing donated part of its footprint at Charlotte Motor Speedway to the program, which will allow Pretty in Pink ample space to distribute information and promote awareness.
Full coverage of all medical expenses for a single year can cost $12,000, six or seven radiation/oncology treatments cost $2,500 and a chemotherapy treatment costs $1,200.