Chili Bowl Nationals ends week honoring cancer victims and hosting charity auction for organizations

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jan 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-13 21:10:36-05

The 2017 Chili Bowl Nationals held it's 26th annual J.W. Hunt Charity Auction Thursday in order to raise money for The Parent Child Center of Tulsa.

Along with the auction, the Chili Bowl has been the home of multiple fundraisers, raffles, and advocate groups pushing an agenda to support local organizations and companies giving back to Tulsa. 

Turn the Bowl Pink, a group affiliated with Joy in the Cause, began selling pink t-shirts during the competition in 2015 to help honor cancer victims and raise funds for Tulsa families battling the illness.

Turn the Bowl Pink Founder, Teresa Morgan, says the idea was inspired by a family member who fell to cancer just a few years after being diagnosed. 

"We ended up losing my mother-in-law a couple of years ago to cancer and so we always wanted to do something to be involved with the community. It seemed natural to bring it into the Chili Bowl since this is my racing family." Morgan said. 

Turn the Bowl Pink created a pink-out race night where hundreds of race attendees wear pink to show support for local race fans fighting the deadly disease. 

Moreover, Chili Bowl organizers make an effort to honor and remember drivers who have died leading up to the yearly competition and further carry on their legacy by adopting certain foundations and agencies the driver may have been involved with.

Bryan Clauson, 2014 Chili Bowl Champion, died after being apart of  race crash in Belleville Kansas and shortly after his death, the Clauson family joined forces with the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign in order to raise awareness of the importance of organ donation.

Clauson's sister, Taylor McLean, says though the loss of her brother was difficult, it was important to use platforms such as the Chili Bowl to help involve and educate race fans about becoming an organ donor. 

"We just want a positive message with donation in general and transplantation. We have had a lot of people sign up in honor of Bryan this year and it's been awesome to see," McLean said. 

Along with the many other fundraisers throughout the week, the Chili Bowl has kept the J.W. Hunt Charity Auction as the main event due to it's close ties with Tulsa families.

Former Director of the Parent Child Center of Tulsa, Desiree Doherty, says the support race fans offer the organization consistently has been surprising and inspiring.  

"I'm surprised and delighted and so grateful for the success of this event and for the longevity and the loyalty of these race fans to Tulsa," Doherty said.

To learn more about the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign click here.



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