Cookies for Kids’ Cancer Wins Additional $20,000
By Earning the Most Votes in Samsung Helmet of Hope for More

Jimmie Johnson Foundation surprises 2nd-place Gwendolyn Strong Foundation with an additional $20,000 grant after reading email exchange between the top-two charities

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 1, 2010) – Cookies for Kids’ Cancer became the deserving winner of an additional $20,000 grant after earning the most votes in the Jimmie Johnson Foundation Samsung Helmet of Hope for More campaign.

Four-time reigning Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson revealed the winner on Speed Channel’s “Trackside Live” program Friday evening. Johnson also surprised second-place finishing Gwendolyn Strong Foundation by announcing that it would also receive a $20,000 grant, a decision made after Johnson and his wife Chandra received an email exchange between the top two charities.

“We were part of an amazing email exchange between Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation that took place after the voting contest ended.  Each charity could see their voting percentage tally online, and it was clear the contest was between these two organizations.  On their own, they decided that regardless of which charity won, they would split the $20,000 grant,” explained Johnson. “Here are these two families who are each trying to raise money and awareness to help find cures for diseases that their own children are battling, and both of them are willing to give away half of the grant to help the other work toward their goal.”

“When we saw what a selfless decision that was and the sacrifice that each was willing to make, we really wanted to step up and do what we could to help each of these amazing organizations,” added Johnson.

The thirteen Samsung Helmet of Hope charities each received a $10,000 grant and placement on Johnson’s Sprint Cup Series race helmet for the Oct. 10 event at Auto Club Speedway.  Each charity that elected to participate in the Helmet of Hope for More initiative then had the opportunity to Hope For More and win additional funding through the online voting contest.

Over 125,000 votes were cast during the three-week voting period, with Cookies for Kids’ Cancer and the Gwendolyn Strong Foundation earning more than 50% of the total votes.  The two exchanged the lead daily throughout the event and were within a few hundred votes in the final days.

“This was the first year we had the Hope for More contest and we couldn’t be more thrilled with the way it turned out,” said Chandra Johnson, co-founder of the Jimmie Johnson Foundation. “We weren’t planning to award grants to two charities, but these two organizations put so much time and effort into the program, especially considering the families of each are battling to save their children’s lives.  We are proud and humbled that we are able to help with their missions.”

Cookies for Kids’ Cancer was founded by Gretchen and Larry Witt when their 2-year old Liam was diagnosed with a deadly form of pediatric cancer called Neuroblastoma. Their family learned quickly it is a cancer that only about 30% of children survive, and that pediatric cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under the age of 18. Cookies for Kids’ Cancer’s top priority to develop new and better treatments for the children battling cancer around the world.
The Gwendolyn Strong Foundation was born out of Bill and Victoria Strong’s firsthand experience with their precious daughter, Gwendolyn. Gwendolyn was born perfectly healthy in October 2007, but was diagnosed with the terminal disease Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type I at 6-months-old.  The Strongs are personally and passionately dedicated to leaving no stone unturned in raising awareness about and funding research for SMA and supporting families who are impacted by SMA and other life-altering diseases.


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