(From left to right) NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, Congressman C.W. Bill Young (R-FL) and NMDP Chief Executive Officer Dr. Jeffrey Chell
The drive and determination showcased by NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon is as evident on the track as it is on Capitol Hill. On September 16, 2008, 'WonderBoy' Gordon stood before key lawmakers in an attempt to generate support for the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP)-a cause that has been near to his heart for almost 20 years.
A longtime advocate for NMDP and a board member of The Marrow Foundation, Gordon is on the fast track to help the more than 10,000 Americans who are diagnosed with life-threatening diseases that can only be cured by a bone marrow or cord blood transplant. His lobby to Congress was an attempt to increase funding and support for public cord blood banking and to ensure that funds are properly allocated.
Gordon's concern with blood diseases dates to the early 1990s when his then-crew chief Ray Evernham learned his son had leukemia. Later, team owner Rick Hendrick was also diagnosed with the blood disease.
(From left to right) Jeff
Gordon and Congressman
Tim Ryan (D-OH)
"Their struggle has made me more passionate about, and committed to, increasing awareness about public cord blood banking and the work of the NMDP," said Gordon. "I've been able to live out my dreams and I want other kids to be able to live out their dreams."
Through the Jeff Gordon Foundation - an organization dedicated to pediatric research and care - Gordon has raised the visibility of NMDP. Additionally he has worked to support marrow donor recruitment, advocacy programs and patient assistance programming.