Representatives from The NASCAR Foundation, Sprint, Inc., Ronald McDonald House, Turner Construction and Kansas Speedway broke ground today for a brand new state-of-the-art playground at the Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City.
The playground is one of five community service projects across the country being hosted by The NASCAR Foundation to help celebrate NASCAR Day and will be dedicated in honor of Tom Murphy, a former Sprint Executive and NASCAR Foundation Board Member.
“The legacy of Tom Murphy both at Sprint and within the larger Kansas City community is one of selfless dedication and commitment,” said Steve Gaffney, Sprint vice president of media and sponsorship. “It is fitting that this Ronald McDonald Playground is being built in Tom’s honor as it was one of the causes related to children and families that truly inspired Tom’s dedication to charitable service. Sprint is proud to support the Ronald McDonald House and this project that will bring smiles to the faces of kids and families for many years to come.”
Throughout his adult life, Murphy was a strong supporter of the Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City and served on its board of directors. His wife, Jenny, was on hand to participate in the ceremony.
“The boys and I are thrilled that The NASCAR Foundation chose to honor Tom’s memory with this incredible playground at the Ronald McDonald House,” said Jenny Murphy. “Both NASCAR and Ronald McDonald House Charities were close to Tom’s heart. It would have meant a lot to him to see these two organizations working together to make this a special place for the children and families who stay here.”
The playground, which will be built over the course of five days, May 12-16, is made possible through a generous gift by Sprint, Inc. and The NASCAR Foundation. Local construction company, Turner Construction, has also donated all of its services to make the build possible.
Annually, the Ronald McDonald House and Family Room provide lodging to nearly 6,000 families and supports over 41,000 visits from family and friends of in-patients at Children's Mercy Hospital. The playground will provide a place for children and their families to come, relax and rejuvenate their spirits.
“The playground is an incredible gift that thousands of families will have the opportunity to enjoy each and every year,” said Holly Buckendahl, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House of Kansas City. “At Ronald McDonald House Charities, our hope is that families experience a sense of normalcy, hope, and comfort while staying with us, despite being far from home during difficult and stressful times. The playground is vital in helping us provide a home away from home.”
Numerous volunteers will be needed to fill shifts each day of the project. For more information or to sign up to volunteer visit WWW.NASCAR.COM/NASCARDay and click on the Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City project. Fans and community members can also support the project by donating $5 for a NASCAR Day pin at the Ronald McDonald House Charities Kansas City or by going online to the NASCAR Day website.
The build is one of five keystone events to take place on NASCAR Day aimed at helping children live happier, healthier lives. The “Big Five” projects include: renovation and race theme decoration of a portion of the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service in Atlanta, Ga,; partnering with Bank of America for a racing-themed educational initiative at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.; working with Sprint, Inc. for a playground build at the Kansas City Ronald McDonald House in Kansas City, Mo.; A Place for Hope project outside Charlotte, N.C., and a youth initiative at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.
NASCAR Day, which will occur on May 21, is an annual charitable celebration of the NASCAR spirit that enables fans and corporate partners to join together to make a difference in the lives of children. Since it began in 2004, NASCAR Day has raised nearly $8 million for charity.
This year marks the first time that The NASCAR Foundation has taken on multiple national service projects of this magnitude to celebrate and create awareness for children’s causes through the NASCAR Day platform.
“This is a monumental year for NASCAR Day,” said NASCAR Foundation Executive Director Sandy Marshall. “Through the generous support of all our partners and fans we are able to host these five keystone events across the country – something we have never undertaken before on NASCAR Day. We hope that on NASCAR Day fans will participate in these events or get involved in community service projects in their own communities that will help children live happier, healthier lives.”
For more information please visit the website at WWW.NASCAR.COM/NASCARDay.