Eight ARCA Menards Series drivers in the field for Saturday night’s Reese’s 150 at Kansas Speedway will sport the names of cancer heroes on the signature panels of their cars.
Those eight different names were nominated by the cancer heroes’ family members or friends as part of the the Martin Truex Jr. and The NASCAR Foundation Honor a Cancer Hero Auction presented by AdventHealth.
In September, NASCAR fans had the opportunity to bid for a chance to honor their cancer heroes’ names on race cars in the NASCAR Cup Series (at Kansas), the NASCAR Xfinity Series (at Kansas), the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (at Martinsville) or the ARCA Menards Series (at Kansas). Featured cancer heroes could be people who personally battled cancer, medical providers, nurses, caregivers or members of a cancer warrior’s support system.
Proceeds from the auction benefit the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation and The NASCAR Foundation, two non-profit organizations that are champions for the health and well-being of others.
“We are so excited to launch this fundraising initiative for a second year,” said Sherry Pollex, founder of the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. “There was an outpouring of support from NASCAR, drivers, teams and fans from across the country last year. September is a special month for the MTJ Foundation in creating cancer awareness, and we are hoping to raise the fundraising bar even higher this month. We are proud to partner with The NASCAR Foundation and AdventHealth to honor these cancer heroes.”
Saturday’s Reese’s 150 at Kansas, the ARCA Menards Series’ season finale, is scheduled to take the green flag at 6 p.m. CT / 7 p.m. ET. The race will broadcast live on MAVTV Motorsports Network with a live stream available on NBC Sports Gold’s TrackPass.
Below is the list of ARCA Menards Series drivers who will run with cancer heroes’ names on their cars, plus info on the heroes and who nominated them.
Cancer hero: Marissa Conroy (Royersford, Pennsylvania)
Nominated by: Daniel McMichael
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “Marissa was diagnosed with a rare cancer in January 2019 after an appendix surgery. She began chemotherapy, and her body did not handle it well. Her cancer was treatable but not curable through chemotherapy. She switched over to alternative treatments thanks to the outpour of support from family, friends and community. Through all that help and treatment, she was able to feel healthy for a few months. Marissa‘s health took a turn for the worse again. She had a scan done in December and another one done after only one round of chemotherapy in March, revealing her cancer had only spread. The effects of the chemotherapy placed Marissa in the hospital for 15 days. She would return home. Marissa passed away peacefully on May 28, 2020 at the age of 33 and only 2 years, 25 days of marriage to my brother-in-law. Through it all she fought trying new and old ways. Always trying to find something else that could help or make a change. She had peace with herself and lived each day to the fullest. She never gave up, that spark, wittiness, and her compassion. When myself or my wife were having a bad or rough day we would think, if she can take that on with that kind of attitude our problems don’t seem that tough and we can rise above.”
Why did you select Toni Breidinger? “Not only Toni being a female, but her motivation to becoming a leader, her underdog fight, and her passion for fitness and health are a perfect match to Marissa. She led in community activities such as the “Little Free Library,” where you take a book, leave a book. And don’t tell Marissa she cant do something; she will be out to prove you wrong with a smile on her face. She also had a passion for yoga and healthy eating.”
Cancer hero: Lowell Herell (Mabank, Texas)
Nominated by: Lance Herell
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “My father. He was a fighter.”
Why did you select Parker Chase? “Parker is a great young man and a great driver. We have followed him through IMSA and will continue through NASCAR.”
Cancer hero: Allen Roelkey (Columbus, Georgia)
Nominated by: Daniel Roelkey
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “My dad has fought cancer three separate times. Through God’s grace and a talented medical team, he is thankfully still with us.”
Why did you select Drew Dollar? “Drew Dollar is a Georgia guy. lol”
Cancer hero: Shirley Wright (Amite, Louisiana)
Nominated by: Jacob Warren
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “This person is the toughest one I know. She has not only beat cancer once but kicked its butt when it came back the second time! She is the healthiest 90-year-old you will ever meet.”
Why did you select Corey Heim? “Corey Heim is an upcoming driver that has a lot of energy. I wanted someone that could match the energy of my grandmother!”
Cancer hero: Judy Castaneda (Alhambra, California)
Nominated by: Shirley Yanello
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “My mother. She showed incredible strength during her fight with cancer.”
Cancer hero: Marian Boudreau Halkey (Livonia, Michigan)
Nominated by: Trey Matthews
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “I decided to nominate Marian Boudreau Halkey as my cancer hero because I admired her courage during her time on Earth. In June of 2018, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite fear and uncertainty, she was still able to keep a smile on her face and push through life. She always made sure to make her family her top priority, as well. She was married to her husband, Dan, for 21 years. Together they had three kids: Troy, Emily and Rachael. I have the pleasure of calling her son, Troy, one of my best friends. During a time when she was making continuous trips to the hospital, and also enduring chemotherapy, she was still able to maintain her virtues. She was a loving wife, a nurturing mother and a considerate friend. She passed away on May 10, 2019. Even though she’s no longer present physically, her legacy lives through her family, friends and associates. She was loved by many and continues to be missed by all. That is why she is my cancer hero.”
Why did you select Kyle Sieg? “Kyle Sieg races for his family’s small racing team. Family was such an important thing for Marian. That is why I selected Kyle, because I thought it was be a perfect fit. I am pleased that Marian will be ‘riding alongside’ Kyle at Kansas.”
Cancer hero: Kenny Krall (Virginia Beach, Virginia)
Nominated by: Shirley Yanello
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “I wanted to honor my daughter-in-law’s father.”
Cancer hero: Debbi L. Fiore (North Port, Florida)
Nominated by: Debbi Fiore
Why did you nominate your cancer hero? “The constant fighting in this battle — having the support of family, friends and my favorite sport, NASCAR.
Why did you select Jack Wood? “To support your drivers and (a) great foundation.”