TALLADEGA, Ala. (May 4, 2012) – The Jessie Rees Foundation and the Graham Rahal Foundation are the ninth and tenth charities selected for the 2012 Jimmie Johnson Foundation Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope, which Johnson will wear in the June 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Each organization will receive a grant of $10,000 and a special Blue Bunny ice cream party.

Fan Kim Redman nominated the Jessie Rees Foundation, which is committed to spreading hope, joy, and love to kids fighting cancer globally. The foundation was inspired by Jessie Rees, who passed away in January at the age of 12 after a courageous battle with cancer.

Jessie’s dream was to find a way to encourage every kid fighting cancer, and her motto was Never Ever Give Up (NEGU).  Her dream is what drives her foundation.  To make her wish come true, JoyJars are sent to courageous kids around the world fighting cancer stuffed with fun and a Never Ever Give Up bracelet. 

As Redman wrote in her nomination, “While Jessie lost her battle with cancer, her beauty remains in making a difference in the lives of other children with cancer.  We should all hope to spread this amount of joy in our entire lifetime.  Jessie accomplished so much in her 12 short years.” 

AP reporter Jenna Fryer nominated The Graham Rahal Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children with medical conditions.  The Foundation supports SeriousFun Children’s Network founded by Paul Newman (formerly the Association of Hole in the Wall Camps) and Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Fryer wrote in her nomination that “Because Graham worked tirelessly to create and raise funds for the Dan Wheldon Memorial Auction, I wanted to reward his own foundation, which works with several children’s charities.”

The Helmet of Hope program, which began in 2008, allows fans, consumers and media members across the country to nominate their favorite charity to receive a $10,000 grant, special recognition on Johnson’s race helmet and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities across the United States.

This year’s Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope campaign runs for six consecutive Sprint Cup race weekends, and it began April 1 at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. Johnson will draw one winner from a list of media submissions and one from a list of fan submissions each race weekend through the Mother’s Day weekend Sprint Cup event at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

The Jessie Rees Foundation, headquartered in Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif., and the Graham Rahal Foundation, based in Columbus, Ohio, join the United Way of Siouxland, Nature Conservancy, Chill Foundation, Fisher House, Scott Lake Elementary-PTO, Alzheimer’s Association in honor of Dan Wheldon, First Descents, Boys & Girls Club of Central Sonoma County, and Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina as charities that will be featured on the Blue Bunny Helmet of Hope.

Fans and media members may nominate their charity by visiting www.helmetofhope.org. Nominations will be accepted until Monday, May 7th at 5pm EST.  For more information about the most recently selected charities visit www.jessie.org or on Twitter, www.twitter.com/WENEGUforKids, or www.grahamrahalfoundation.org or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GR_Foundation.

About the Helmet of Hope
In its fifth year, the Helmet of Hope program gives fans and media members across the country the opportunity to nominate their favorite charity to be featured on five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s helmet for the June 24 Sprint Cup race at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. This year’s title sponsor for Helmet of Hope is Blue Bunny Ice Cream. In addition to being featured on the helmet, each charity selected also receives a grant of $10,000 and a Blue Bunny ice cream party. To date, the program has contributed more than $300,000 to 49 different charities. 

About the Jimmie Johnson Foundation
Chandra and Jimmie Johnson launched the Jimmie Johnson Foundation in February 2006. Johnson, the five-time Sprint Cup champion, drives the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet in NASCAR’s top series. The mission of the foundation is to assist children, families, and communities in need throughout the United States. The foundation has committed more than $5 million to various charities. For additional information on the Jimmie Johnson Foundation, please visit www.JimmieJohnsonFoundation.org.

About Blue Bunny
Blue Bunny, founded in 1913, is a brand of Wells Enterprises, Inc. — the largest family-owned ice cream manufacturer in the United States. Today, more than 500 Blue Bunny-branded ice cream and frozen novelty products can be found across the U.S. Always committed to quality, Blue Bunny products are made with only real ice cream. Wells is headquartered in Le Mars, Iowa, the Ice Cream Capital of the World. Become a Blue Bunny fan on Facebook (facebook.com/BlueBunnyIceCream) for ice cream news and updates.


Mary Barr, Jimmie Johnson Foundation

Kristine Curley, True Speed Communication
704.875.3388 ext. 808

Liz Croston, Blue Bunny