A Tamarac resident received a customized power wheelchair, however, this wasn’t an ordinary one, this was a Danica Patrick NASCAR-themed custom powered wheelchair worth $27,000, and it came with Danica Patrick herself, when she met the recipient Gerard Materiale at its annual Hot Rods & Reels Charity Fishing Tournament held at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday.
This was such a great time, and I can’t thank the Darrell Gwynn Foundation enough for this gift of mobility…I feel like I got my life back today.” – Gerard Materiale
The wheelchair was provided courtesy of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and its supporters, whose mission is to provide support for people with paralysis and prevent spinal cord injuries. Materiale, 23, sustained a complete spinal cord injury when he was run over by a truck. His previous wheelchair provided to him by Medicaid was not sufficient, and he was not able to propel himself. This gift of mobility will give Gerard the independence he deserves.
NASCAR Star Danica Patrick made time to meet Materiale at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, holding a private meet and greet session for one of her biggest fans. Patrick autographed the wheelchair and spent time with Materiale and his family making it a memorable day.
“It really is incredible that I’m in a position to be a part of something like this,” said Patrick. “I don’t know what it’s like to not have mobility and I’m really happy that Gerard was able to receive that gift today. I’m honored he chose a wheelchair themed after me.”
After the donation, NASCAR Driver Jamie McMurray won the 13th annual Hot Rods & Reels Charity Fishing Tournament with NASCAR Drivers on the infield lake at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on Saturday, November 16.
The event pairs sponsors, donors, supporters and NASCAR fans with NASCAR Drivers for a fun day of fishing benefiting the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Speediatrics. McMurray’s team of Diego Bentz, Sebastian Bentz, Isabella Bentz and Robert Miley won the event with a team weigh-in total of 5.48lbs. of peacock bass. The team edged NASCAR Driver Joey Coulter’s team of Tim Swenson, Jim Swenson and Yoan Alvarez who boated 4.32lbs. of bass to finished second place. NASCAR Driver Max Papis landed the biggest fish of the day, netting a 3.0lbs. lunker bass.
“It was a lot of fun out there,” said McMurray. “The drivers get really competitive and I just want to point out that Clint Bowyer did quit today during the tournament. The frustration of hitting fish on their heads with his bait not catching them I think go to him (laughs). But it’s a really neat opportunity to fish for a great cause and be part of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation during Ford Championship Weekend. I love participating in this event,” said McMurray.
NASCAR Drivers and personalities Tony Stewart, Ty Dillon, Richard Childress, Dave Blaney, Ryan Newman, Joe Nemechek, Joey Coulter, Clint Bowyer, Darrell Waltrip, Jamie McMurray, Martin Truex, Jeff Hammond, David Ragan, Kenny Schrader, Greg Biffle and Max Papis gave their time to participate in the tournament and support the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.
Sponsorships and boats are available for the biannual event which takes place at the Daytona International Speedway during Daytona 500 Weekend and the Homestead-Miami Speedway during Ford Championship Weekend.
For more information please call (954) 792-7223 x.113 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hotrodsandreels.com. The donation and fishing tournament is part of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation’s Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week (SCIAW) campaign in the State of Florida. It is one of four wheelchair donations to deserving Floridians and two gifts in observance of SCIAW.
Last weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway, all racecars sported special Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week decals to commemorate the week. A Public Service Announcement (PSA) starring Ryan Newman and Darrell Gwynn urging Floridians to drive safe in an effort to prevent spinal cord injuries is airing this month in the State of Florida thanks to Comcast.
For more information on the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Week please visit www.darrellgwynnfoundation.org.