The B+ Foundation came to Austin to race at Circuit of The Americas, second round of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. B+ Racing drivers, cancer survivor Al Carter and Hugh Plumb are among the top favorites to win at COTA. B+ Foundation “Fighting Childhood Cancer Tour” has been created to help increase awareness about childhood cancer and help raise more money to provide financial assistance to families of children with cancer. The efforts will also sponsor research to find cures for childhood cancers and advancements in chemotherapy.
Driver Joe McDonough, co-founder of The B+ Foundation, was personally affected when his 14 year old son, Andrew, died of Leukemia, “Each and every one can help in childhood cancer by sharing and asking what they can do today?“ Andrew McDonough died from complications of leukemia four years ago in July, six months after the previously healthy 14-year-old collapsed and went in septic shock at a soccer tournament. After the episode, doctors didn’t expect him to survive the week.
But over the next 167 days, he fought death at a Wilmington hospital, despite multiple life-threatening infections and brain surgery. His father, Joe, quit work to stay by his son’s side. Andrew’s battle galvanized the community, which rallied behind the slogan “Be Positive” a nod to Andrew’s blood type and the family’s upbeat motto. On the afternoon of July 14, 2007, he succumbed to the disease, dying in the arms of his sister, Ali.
Andrew’s mom, dad and sister founded The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation and through his father and the B+ movement, Andrew’s legacy lives on. The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed not only to honor his life and raise money for research of pediatric cancers, but also to provide financial support to those affected by the illness. “This is my crusade, seven days a week,” Joe McDonough said. “Many people believe that cancer is only an adult illness but unfortunately 46 children are currently diagnosed with the disease every day.”
The overall goal of The B+ Foundation is to “Do Good”. During the 11 races of the 2013 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, Al Carter and Hugh Plumb visit kids with cancer in hospitals before racing events to make a positive difference and keep the “B+” message alive through outreach efforts and talks. The B+ Foundation provides financial assistance to families of children with cancer nationwide. In the last two years, The B+ Foundation awarded over $1,000,000 to families of children with cancer while giving over $500,000 to support research efforts.
B+ Foundation “Fighting Childhood Cancer Tour” stopped at Dell Children’s Hospital before the race, Al Carter and Hugh Plumb toured the Children’s Blood & Cancer Center at Dell Children’s Medical Center of Central Texas in Austin. B+ isn’t just a blood type. For sports-car drivers Al Carter and Hugh Plumb, it’s a battle cry. Carter and Plumb competed in the Grand-Am 200 at Circuit of The Americas on March 2 and have logged some 66 laps during the 2½-hour race, and every time their BMW M3 zooms by the gallery, thousands of gearheads will be exposed to the blue-and-white B+ logos on its hood, roof and doors to tell the world about a Delaware teen who never saw his high school graduation, Andrew McDonough.
Because of Plumb, Carter, their message has gone national. Carter and Plumb, teammates in the Continental Tire Series GS classification, finished fifth in the championship last year, and because of their BMW racecars’ traveling billboard, The B+ Foundation shared in the exposure.
Carter, a stock trader and Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor from Delaware, was amazed by the buzz that B+ had generated in Wilmington and approached McDonough about displaying the logo on their race car. “Everybody knows about B+ [in Delaware],” Carter said. “Everybody knows about the kids. These race cars that we have, they’re an advertising vehicle. I’m in this series that races across the country.” But their commitment runs far deeper than just marketing and photo opportunities. Before every tour stop, they visit local children’s cancer centers and meet with the patients. Before the Circuit of The Americas race on March 2, they toured Dell Children’s Hospital cancer center, signed autographs and took pictures with children.
“If you can bring a smile to the faces of kids that are going through the worst possible thing, then that’s amazing,” Plumb said. “That’s what I’m there to do.” Added McDonough: “When I tell kids there’s a B+ race car, their eyeballs go three inches high. There’s something special about kids and racing. For a couple of minutes, they forget they have cancer.”
Visit our B+ Racing website at www.bpositiveracing.com
By Monica Pena