Around the U.S. in Seven Days: NASCAR Driver Fundraises for Fabry, Other Rare Diseases

Earlier this year, Kyle Petty made his way across the country for his annual fundraiser appropriately called “Ride Across America.”

While Petty, a famous NASCAR racer, says one of his favorite part of the cross-country ride has been enjoying his summer in Wisconsin, he enjoys getting to meet his fans even more. Although Petty loves being behind the wheel, he doesn’t drive just for the heck of it on this road trip. Petty drives to raise money for his charity, “Victory Junction.” It’s a camp for kids with chronic diseases and their families that is completely free of charge. This is its 23rd year.

Petty is not alone on his conquest for fundraising. Petty was joined by several other familiar faces this year. He was joined by Richard Petty, Harry Gant, Hershel McGriff, Donnie Allison and more. The group took its cross-country fundraiser from Portland, Oregon through Washington, Montana and all the way to Minnesota over a seven-day trip. Spirits remained high throughout as groups of 50, 100 and even 150 people gathered as the group traveled.

Petty recounted how, at one stop, a whole school came out to meet the cross-country travelers.

One special family among the fandom that gathered to catch a glimpse of Petty and his fundraising pursuits, was wife and husband Bonnie and Kenneth. The couple has two young children, Kassie and Johnathan. Bonnie and her family have attended the Victory Junction for three years now and are very grateful for the opportunity to gather together, enjoy each other’s presence, and have fun free of cost.

Both Kassie and Kenneth Primus have Fabry disease.
Fabry disease is a very rare disease that results from a buildup of a type of fat called globotriaosylceramide. The most common symptoms include pain in the hands and feet, small dark red spots on the skin, less ability to sweat, cloudiness on the front part of the eye and hearing loss. Fabry disease can be potentially life-threatening because of progressive kidney damage, heart attacks or strokes.

Kenneth’s symptoms prevent him from working, and son Kassie is already suffering with serious symptoms of Fabry at his young age. Kassie currently needs infusions of an enzyme that costs $20,000 a piece. Insurance only covers so much of the cost! Kenneth will soon need these expensive infusions as well.

This victory fundraiser means so much to the Primus family because it is the one time a year they can come together as a “normal family.” There are games like mini golf. There’s a talent show the family enjoys. In times of such financial and emotional hardship for families like the Primus family, a free and fun camp can be a very long-awaited annual trip.

“They take care of you,” said Bonnie of the Victory Junction camp. This one camp can offer families a much needed escape and vacation from the troubles of chronic disease.

This is the real reason Kyle Petty rides.
Read more about the fundraiser here and check out Kyle Petty’s Charity Ride website here.

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