Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I share the following with you from a mom, Donna, whose son who was born with spina bifida and whose life changed when at age 9, her son, Hank, experienced a life changing week at Victory Junction. There are hundreds of stories like Donna’s which capture the spirit and love both Kyle and Pattie Petty have put into building Victory Junction. I am thankful I had the chance to volunteer with them while at Martinsville Speedway. Thank you all for your contributions to NASCAR Day 2011 as 100% of the donations go to Victory Junction and will change the life of a child like Hank.

“Kyle and Pattie Petty have gone through a parent’s worst nightmare, but instead of curling up in a ball, they built a place to share the love they had for their son, Adam,” stated Donna Grissom, mother to now 15-year-old Hank Grissom, who was born with spina bifida and flourished as a child having experienced a camp made just for him, Victory Junction, in Randleman, NC.
Hank was nine when a cardiologist told his parents about a new camp designed for children like him, born with a disability.

“He was nine years old and had never been away from us. I filled out all the paperwork and called them several times to make sure they were able to do everything for him that he needed. They assured me he would be taken care of properly,” stated Grissom.

Donna shared that many times in ‘normal’ circumstances, Hank would feel ostracized by the public, but after attending camp he would look at the signage from sponsors and generous donors and he felt the love of an entire community of people who want the camp, and support it – people who Hank would never meet actually cared about him.

“Camp helped him to be more independent,” stated Grissom. “He had so much more confidence when we came back to pick him up. Everybody loves camp. The campers feel the love and acceptance.”

During our talk, Donna teared up and shared with me the last time Hank was at camp he was old enough to attempt the ‘Adventure Tower’ which is equipped to adapt to anyone regardless of their physical limitations.

“After being thankful to attend the camp more than once, I figured he’d done just about everything, but when we picked him up he was so excited and proud of his accomplishment of taking the ‘hardest’ way to get to the top,” stated Grissom.

Hank’s personal growth is contagious. So much so that he is now a regular spokes person for Victory Junction and was part of the ground breaking ceremony in Kansas City where a second camp is being built.

“We are very grateful and deeply appreciate the opportunity,” stated Grissom, “it has changed our life and will change everyone’s life in a positive way.”

To learn more about Victory Junction, please visit VictoryJunction.org. 
To get your 2011 NASCAR Day pin, click here.
NASCAR Day will be celebrated on Friday, May 20
Mrs. North Carolina International 2011
Janet Bolin