Speediatric Bears

Pictured from left to right: Sydney Esquibel, AdventHealth Foundation Assistant; Jimmy Anzueto, SIR Event Manager; Maria Medina Gonzalez, AdventHealth Pediatrics Nurse Manager; Johanna Hardewijk, AdventHealth Nurse Manager; Sue Calderone. SIR Customer Service Representative; Wayne Estes, SIR President and General Manager; Elizabeth Worley, SIR Marketing Coordinator and Christen Johnson, AdventHealth Director of Foundation & Volunteer Services.

SEBRING — This past holiday season, the Sebring International Raceway (SIR) team visited AdventHealth Sebring, formerly Florida Hospital Heartland, with NASCAR Speediatric Bears to bring joy and brighten the spirits of pediatric patients.

“Being a hospital patient can be scary for anyone and often, more so for a child,” said Maria Medina Gonzalez, AdventHealth Sebring Pediatrics Nurse Manager. “I wish everyone could see the joy on our pediatric patient’s faces when we enter their room with one of the bears we received from the raceway.”

Speediatric Bears are part of the Speediatric Children’s Fund created by The NASCAR Foundation to support the needs expressed by hospitals, specialty clinics, camps, and related child organizations that provide medical and health care services. This is the second year that SIR has delivered bears to AdventHealth Sebring patients. AdventHealth nurse leaders ensure these bears are distributed to children in the pediatric unit and emergency room.

“These types of visits began with our late founder, Betty Jane France, who wanted to ease the stress that children experience when they’re in the hospital. We continue the Speedy Bear Bridge this year in hopes of bringing joy to children during the holidays,” said SIR Marketing Coordinator Elizabeth Worley. “Seeing a child’s face light up after receiving one of our NASCAR Speedy Bears feels great. It shows you that no matter what can be going on in your life, there are still simple gestures that make a world of difference in someone’s day.”

This year, “Operation Speedy Bear Brigade” took place in 24 locations across the NASCAR industry. In total, more than 1,000 Speediatric Bears were delivered to children. The NASCAR Foundation is a 501c(3) charity and works with local communities to advance the lives of children who need it most. More than 1 million children have been impacted, with more than $32 million given in financial support.

For more information regarding Sebring International Raceway or their Speediatric Bear donations through the NASCAR Foundation, contact SIR Marketing Coordinator, Elizabeth Worley at 863-655-1442.


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