An online auction of memorabilia dedicated to the late Dan Wheldon raised more than $600,000 for a memorial trust established for his family after the two-time Indianapolis 500 winner died from injuries sustained in an accident in October.
The organizers of the Dan Wheldon Memorial Auction released a final total of $627,203 on Jan. 13 after all items had been officially sold and the funds collected.
"From the very beginning, I have been so overwhelmed by the outpouring of sympathy and the unwavering support of Dan's friends, his fans and from the racing community," Wheldon's wife Susie said in a statement. "When Graham (Rahal) reached out to me with the auction total today, I was very touched by everyone's generosity. I want everyone to know how grateful I am and how much I appreciate everyone's kindness and their love. It means the world to our family, and I hope one day to personally thank all those who donated and purchased the auction items."
Rahal, a competitor in the IZOD IndyCar Series, started the auction when he announced that he planned to auction off his helmet, shoes and gloves from the Las Vegas race and donate the proceeds to Wheldon's family.
As word spread about his gesture, personalities from the sports and entertainment world began donating items for Rahal to auction off. Within just a few days, the auction grew too big for Rahal to handle alone. It was taken over by eBay, which waived all fees, and Auction Cause, an auction management agency.
"We're beyond floored with the outpouring of love you have all shown," the organizers said via their Twitter account. "(We) couldn't have done it without you all! Words can't express our gratitude! Every little bit helped and will make a difference for the family."