Charity wins big on Fan Friday in Toronto
More than $57,000 (Canadian) was raised for Make-A-Wish Canada during the Honda Indy Toronto race weekend.
The event included Fan Friday in which admission to watch IZOD IndyCar Series practice and qualifications for Race 1, Mazda Road to Indy series (Firestone Indy Lights, Pro Mazda and USF2000) practice and participate in interactive displays was free through the backing of the Ontario Honda Dealers Association. Spectators made donations to the charity.
In four years of the fund-raising efforts during the race weekend, more than $308,000 has been generated.
Alex Tagliani, driver of the No. 98 Barracuda Racing car and a Make-A-Wish Canada ambassador, spent time with Make-A-Wish families between on-track sessions. He kicked off raising awareness of Fan Friday by throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at Rogers Centre before the Toronto Blue Jays hosted the Detroit Tigers on July 1.
"On behalf of everyone at Make-A-Wish Canada, I'd like to express our sincere thanks to Honda Canada, its dealers and, of course, the fans," said Jennifer Ritter, CEO of Make-A-Wish Canada. "This level of commitment and support is a huge part of how we can continue to grant wishes and bring happiness and strength to the lives of children with life-threatening medical conditions."
Days are winding down to donate to the dare between Scott Dixon and Tagliani.
Fans can make monetary donations to charities designated by Dixon or Tagliani through July 19 at www.power-of-2.org.
The charities will end up winners, but the celebrity who finishes second in the fund-raising will have to cash in with a very public dare: They'll get into costume (Tagliani a beaver; Dixon a sheep) and ride around the grounds of the Indiana State Fair in August on a tricycle.
There is also something in it for those who make contributions: A chance to win a signed Dixon or Tagliani racing helmet and phone/Skype call with them.