Betty Jane France
Our hearts are a bit heavy, as they have been since the afternoon of August 29 when Betty Jane, the founder and chairwoman emeritus of The NASCAR Foundation, passed away in her adopted hometown of Daytona Beach, Florida. Spirits should be buoyed, however, by the memories we all have and share of a woman who left a legacy of unconditional support for causes that are committed to improving the lives of children in need. Betty Jane said this more than once, when speaking publicly on behalf of those causes:
“Helping out a child in need … is there anything in the world more important? Helping improve the quality of a child’s life is a cause everyone can embrace.”
The desire to help led her to become involved in establishing the renowned racing-themed Speediatrics children’s care units at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach and Homestead Hospital in South Florida. It led to her founding The NASCAR Foundation in 2006. Betty Jane France envisioned a place where kids are not intimidated by the overwhelming experience of being in the hospital. And out of this vision Speediatrics was born. Mrs. France knew that when a child becomes seriously ill, it’s a life-changing experience. Fear of the unknown replaces the joy, smiles and daily routine of a healthy life.
The Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award has become one of NASCAR’s most prestigious presentations. Betty Jane France is the reason. It led to her taking great pride in announcing the winner of the accolade named in her honor while making sure the spotlight always shone brightly on the other three finalists.
Her vision was celebrated at the inaugural Honors Gala in New York City. The video below pays tribute to Betty Jane France and her desire to make an impact on children in need.