Alzheimer's Fundraiser Brings Big Names And Support For Cure Research Friday Night

  • Saturday, November 22, 2014
Pictured from left are Brian Johnson, Brenda Johnson, Byron DeFoor and Susan DeFoor at Fifty Plus Racing's Endures for a Cure Alzheimer's Benefit.
Pictured from left are Brian Johnson, Brenda Johnson, Byron DeFoor and Susan DeFoor at Fifty Plus Racing's Endures for a Cure Alzheimer's Benefit.

Fifty Plus Racing hosted hundreds on Friday night to raise support and awareness for Alzheimer’s research at their Endures for a Cure Alzheimer’s Benefit, donating close to $100,000. The Fifty Plus Racing team has garnered significant support for Alzheimer’s caregivers and research since its creation in 2012 by vintage racer Byron DeFoor, along with a band of racers all over the age of 50. AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, racing legend Brian Redman, Senator Bob Corker,and former Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey were also on hand to lend their voice to the cause. 

“I encounter the tragic toll Alzheimer’s has on the five million Americans who grapple with this disease everyday as I walk into work,” said Mr. DeFoor, who owns Grace Healthcare, a company which manages skilled nursing, assisted living and rehabilitation facilities across the U.S. “I can think of no better cause than supporting research that could permanently close the chapter on this debilitating disease.” 

The night kicked off with an entrance by AC/DC singer Brian Johnson in a new Daytona prototype road race car, whose “Highway to Help” adaptation has been adopted as the anthem for Alzheimer’s cure research. Johnson’s bandmate, 61 year-old Malcolm Young, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s this past September. According to Mr. Johnson, Mr. Young "was the one that was behind AC/DC. He was our spiritual leader. He was our spitfire."

Baylor High School graduate and University of Tennessee alumnus Justin D. Boyd, Ph.D., was featured as the event’s guest speaker for his work in Alzheimer’s research, which earlier earned him a half million dollar federal research grant. Fifty Plus Racing presented Boyd $100,000 at tonight’s event to further Boyd's future Alzheimer’s research projects.

Senator Bob Corker also addressed the importance of Alzheimer’s research, a cause made personal through the loss of his father to the disease. Racing legend Brian Redman further related to the need for a cure in his remarks, having witnessed first-hand the battle of many of his fellow racing partners with the deadly disease. Fifty Plus drivers Jim Pace and David Hinton also joined Redman at tonight’s event. Former Deputy Governor Claude Ramsey, whose sister currently has Alzheimer’s, delivered other remarks at the fundraiser.

The benefit included a silent auction sponsored by Racing Toward a Cure for Alzheimer’s, featuring fine art pieces and collectible racing paraphernalia, among other items. Auction items included an authentic racing suit previously owned by Brian Redman, a Chopard watch worth $10,000 and a membership for a Targa Sixty Six race experience. Karen Barrow, an artist based out of Naples, Fl., whose mother passed away from Alzheimer’s, also donated several original pieces of artwork for the auction. 

Fifty Plus Racing has currently raised approximately $400,000 locally in support of Alzheimer’s research. For more information about Fifty Plus Racing, visit http://fiftyplusracing.com/#.

Justin Boyd receives a check for $100,000 from Fifty Plus Racing for his future Alzheimer's research.
Justin Boyd receives a check for $100,000 from Fifty Plus Racing for his future Alzheimer's research.
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