Auto Club Speedway Teams With Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Help Speed the Development of Cures and Treatments for Blood Cancers

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FONTANA and ORANGE, Calif. (Dec. 16, 2015) – Auto Club Speedway strives to make a difference any way it can in the local community, especially when something as serious as blood cancer hits close to home.  In the race to find cures and treatments for the 80-plus types of blood cancers, Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., has formed a partnership with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), Orange County Inland Empire Chapter.

Auto Club Speedway will host several events to support the non-profit organization, including the annual Light The Night Walk, which brings thousands of people together to raise the critical monies needed to fund research that ultimately lead to cures and life-saving treatments. The 2016 Light The Night Walk will be held at the Speedway, on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016.

A driving force behind the Speedway’s support of LLS is that the disease has directly impacted two members of the Speedway family.  Vice President of Operations, Ray Wilkings, daughter was diagnosed with AML Leukemia in April 2014. She immediately began treatment at the Atlanta Northside Hospital Bone Marrow Treatment Unit while a search was conducted to determine a match for a bone marrow transplant. As it turned out, Tricia’s mother Darlene Wilkings was the best match, and her stem cells were harvested for the transplant. Tricia received the transplant and responded favorably. She is now leading a normal life with no signs of cancer.

Corporate Hospitality Manager, Roxanne King’s daughter was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in October 2014.  She is currently in the Maintenance phase of treatment which is the last, but longest phase of treatment.  She takes a daily chemo pill at home and goes into the hospital every three months for chemo as well.  Alina was able to start kindergarten in November 2015. 

“Blood cancer does not discriminate between young and old, or the disadvantaged or well-off,” said Dave Allen, President Auto Club Speedway. “It’s a disease that strikes indiscriminately. The least we can do is offer hope by helping to raise funds so more cures and treatments will be developed now and in the near future. We are honored to work alongside all of the people behind LLS including the survivors, family members and friends, and the hundreds of volunteers, who sacrifice countless hours each year.”

The Light The Night event, now in its 17th year in the Inland Empire, regularly attracts more than 4,000 survivors and supporters and raises in excess of $500,000 each year. In addition to hosting the Light The Night Walk on Oct. 29, 2016, the Speedway will also host a Light The Night Kick Off and Survivor Day during the NXS 300 on March 19, 2016, and a corporate recruitment lunch to help secure additional sponsor support.

The Light The Night Walk is a powerful and unique fundraising campaign for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which brings together families and communities to honor blood cancer survivors and loved ones lost to the disease, and to shine a light on the importance of finding cures and providing access to treatments for blood cancer patients. It is a family-friendly, non-competitive, two-mile walk route and is accessible to all fitness levels. In a beautifully visual display, each walker holds aloft an illuminated lantern to show how their lives have been affected by blood cancer – white if they are a survivor, red if they're a supporter, and gold if they're walking in memory of a loved one. 

Generous sponsors such as Auto Club Speedway have enabled the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to realize so many medical breakthroughs that have dramatically increased survivor rates during the past six decades,” said Michael Shumard, executive director, Lymphoma & Leukemia Society, Orange County Inland Empire Chapter. “We look forward to a fruitful and rewarding partnership that will enable us to expand our annual Light The Night Walk and reach even more survivors and supporters in the Inland Empire. We so very much appreciate all of the support from the leadership of the Speedway.”

About Auto Club Speedway

Located 50 miles east of Los Angeles in Fontana, Auto Club Speedway is California’s premier motorsports facility, hosting over 320 days of track activity each year including the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Auto Club 400 weekend  – March 18-20, 2016. The two-mile D-shaped oval is one of the fastest tracks on the NASCAR circuit.  The Speedway is also home to numerous movie, television and commercial productions, photo shoots, new car testing, club racing and a variety of racing schools. For more information on events at Auto Club Speedway call 1-800-944-RACE (7223) or visit www.autoclubspeedway.com

 About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

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