Beth Lunkenheimer · Thursday July 5, 2012
Friday night when the Nationwide Series hits the track at Daytona International Speedway, Tayler Malsam’s No. 19 Toyota will feature the Noah’s Light Foundation along with G-OIL. Part of a new campaign deemed “Fast Forward,” Malsam will be racing to help promote awareness.
The Noah’s Light Foundation was found in 2010 by Amber and Dennis Larkin in honor of their son Noah, who eventually, “lost his fight with pediatric brain cancer earlier this year.” A simple look at the founder’s page on the foundation’s website shows young Noah described as, “a light and an old soul who was always smiley.”
Reading a letter from Amber posted on the website about how the family found out is just heartbreaking. In October, 2009, they had family visiting while the children were laughing and playing, Noah suddenly threw up in the kitchen. Amber just assumed he’d picked up virus in school but that changed when it happened again the next day, only this time it was accompanied by a headache. A visit to the pediatrician yielded the same assumption of being back in school, but Amber couldn’t shake the headache part. Late that evening, the Larkin family was at their local childrens’ hospital for an MRI.
Sadly, the news from the MRI wasn’t good. As soon as doctors looked at the tumor that clearly presented itself, the neurosurgeon said there was no need for a biopsy since they knew it was cancer, and brain surgery was scheduled the following morning. To make matters worse, there were several different studies Amber and Dennis were presented with giving them the feeling that people were telling them ‘this happened to your son and we are sorry, but now he becomes a study and maybe he can help children 20 years down the road.’
“The Noah’s Light mission is to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer by supporting visionary doctors in pediatric oncology, funding new research in the field and raising awareness,” Co-founder Amber Larkin said. “The speed, communication, and teamwork of NASCAR represent the approach that the Noah’s Light Foundation is bringing to cancer research. We are on Fast Forward for today’s children.”
The specific disease that Noah was diagnosed with is Medulloblastoma, a malignant brain tumor. According to the MD Anderson Cancer Center Medullobasltoma is a rare tumor, yet more common in children and is responsible for 25% of all pediatric brain cancers. The tumor is off found well before the child reaches the age of 10 and while it affects both sexes, it’s more commonly found in boys. Medulloblastoma usually presents in the cerebellum and can quickly grow and spread to other portions of the brain, and in rare cases in can spread beyond the brain and spinal cord.
Cancer experts aren’t positive exactly what causes medulloblastoma to present, but many believe that it begins to “arise from fetal cells that remain the cerebellum after birth.”
According to the website, all funds donated will be invested to “support research towards a cure” via personalized therapy, cell therapy, biotherapy and tumor growth and preservation. Currently many tumors that are removed from pediatric brain cancer patients are thrown away, but the Noah’s Light Foundation would like to, “create a precedent that all tumors are maintained and preserved for research.”
That’s where the NASCAR world can help. TriStar Motorsports is doing their part by featuring the foundation on their Toyota, and Green Earth Technologies, the company that produces G-OIL, a, “clean and green lubricant that allows concerned consumers who care about the environment and American energy independence to do their part without sacrificing value or performance” is generously helping as well.
“We are honored to feature the Noah’s Light Foundation on the No. 19 G-OIL Toyota Camry to help raise awareness of the Foundation and the Fast Forward campaign,” President and CMO of Green Earth Technologies, Inc. said. “GET is concerned about the environment and consumed toxicity as well as carbon emissions and VOC’s being emitted into the air or dumped into the soil that reaches out groundwater. GET was founded on the premise of creating safer solutions that work.”
I’ve always had a soft spot for charitable organizations and events NASCAR drivers are involved with, but they always hit a little harder when children are involved. I can’t even imagine how Amber and Dennis kept their strength beginning with Noah’s diagnosis in late 2009 through his eventual passing last month. What I do know for sure is that their commitment to finding a cure despite losing their son, who won’t be able to benefit from that cure, is truly commendable.
Fans who are interested in getting involved may click here for details for donating online or by mail as well as philanthropic contributions.
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