By AMANDA VINCENT
The NASCAR Foundation recently announced the four finalists up for the 2015 Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. Finalists include Bob Bowler of Charlotte, N.C.; Stephanie Decker of Sellersburg, Ind.; Carl Flatley of Dunedin, Fla.; and Jeff Hanson of Overland Park, Kan. The winner will be announced during the Sprint Cup Series Awards banquet at Wynn Las Vegas on Dec. 4.
The awards banquet will air on NBC Sports Network, beginning at 9 p.m. ET on Dec. 3.
The NASCAR Foundation will donate $100,000 to the winner’s charity of choice and $25,000 to the charities of each of the other three finalists. The winner will be chosen by fan voting, and voting is open until 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 3 at NASCAR.com/award.
“This year’s finalists are ‘raising the bar’ for our award,” award namesake Betty Jane France said. “They have national stature but are community-oriented. Collectively, they have done an incredible amount of important work toward improving the quality of life for children in need. As we now go through the online process, our finalists will increase awareness of both the award and The NASCAR Foundation overall. They have wonderful, inspiring stories to tell, which is not surprising because they are wonderful people. We are very proud to call them our 2015 finalists.”
Here are brief bios of the four finalists:
Bowler (Special Olympics North Carolina) — Bowler has been volunteering for Special Olympics North Carolina for more than 30 years. He also started Camp SOAR, a free summer camp 15 years ago. Bowler has raised over $1 milion in contributions for Special Olympics athletes.
Decker (Stephanie Decker Foundation) — Decker started the Stephanie Decker Foundation to assist children with prosthetics get involved in sports after a tornado struck her own home and she lost both of her legs while shielding her children from debris. She also has become a motivational speaker and spoke to the Kentucky State Senate to push for a bill that would require insurance companies to cover the cost of prosthetics.
Flatley (Sepsis Alliance and Jeff Hanson of Children’s Tumor Foundation) — Flatley founded the Sepsis Alliance after losing his daughter Erin to the infection in 2002 after a routine surgical procedure. Through his foundation, he has established educational programs and an endowment to provide sepsis training for physicians in Florida.
Hanson (Children’s Tumor Foundation) — Hanson was diagnosed with optic glioma, a tumor that attacks the optic nerve, at the age of six. He was declared legally blind at the age of 12. In 2005, he began creating note cards with bright, bold colors for peopole with limited vision. Those note cards became a fundraising platform that has raised over $250,000 forthe Children’s Tumor Foundation and over $1.3 million for other charities worldwide.
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