Two Charlotte sports figures who share the #88 are teaming up to help local charities.
Carolina Panthers tight end Greg Olsen and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. kicked off their “Weekend with the 88s” fundraiser which offers the chance to win a one-of-a-kind sports experience for one lucky raffle winner and a guest.
The Dale Jr. Foundation and The Greg Olsen Foundation and its HEARTest Yard campaign are selling 8,888 raffle tickets for $18.88. The raffle ends on October 11, 2015 and the winner will be drawn on October 12, 2015.
Olsen started his foundation, Receptions for Research, in honor of his mother, who is a breast cancer survivor.
In 2012, Olsen and his wife, Kara, learned they were expecting twins. One of the twins was perfectly healthy, while the other had a prenatal diagnosis of hypoplastic left heart syndrome, a severe congenital heart defect.
They were so moved by the help they received from the hospital staff and community that they knew they had to use their voice to help other families going through the same situation. They decided to add another branch to the foundation called The HEARTest Yard.
“Hearing from those families and being able to give them some sort of support and give them some sort of hope is what countless families did for us two, three years ago when we were in their same shoes.” Olsen said. “To be able to provide that hope and provide a little foresight into what they’re going to experience, it feels good.”
The HEARTest Yard initiative is a family service program administered in conjunction with Levine Children’s Hospital. It provides families of babies affected by congenital heart disease with services including in-home, private nursing care, physical therapy, and speech therapy among other benefits.
“We encourage people to reach out. We are willing to use our voice to help them,” Olsen said. “We know what shoes they’re in. It’s a tough road, but because people did it for us, you can help them, and we are trying to be those people.”