MANASSAS, VA. -- It was an incredibly memorable late September day for 9-year-old Ethan Dixon who was adopted as the newest member of Mini Tyrrell's race team through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation.
Ethan has been battling leukemia and reveled in the opportunity to join Mini's team and develop a lasting friendship. The day featured Ethan and his family receiving a tour of the Manassas City Police Department, and then having Ethan sworn in as an officer. He also received honors from the Lake Jackson Volunteer Fire Department and became an honorary firefighter. In addition, the City of Manassas, VA - Government rolled out the red carpet and gifted him with the key to the city. A police and fire escort to Autobahn Indoor Speedway & Events followed with Mini and Ethan sharing laps on the go-kart track.
In addition to Ethan and his family, there were a few special people who were in attendance that day, and a lot more to the story. When Mini was 6 years old, he was inspired to make a difference in the fight against childhood cancer because of a classmate who was diagnosed with a brain tumor. We were thrilled to have Ella Day, along with her parents Karen and Ryan, on hand. Ella has been cancer-free for nearly a decade and remains a shining beacon to us all in the fight against childhood cancer.
Also on hand was 2019 Miss Florida Everglades Amanda Shoopman. Amanda is a student at George Mason University and a pediatric cancer survivor. Amanda was diagnosed with retinoblastoma when she was just nine months old. She beat cancer into remission after a year of chemotherapy and four years of laser eye treatment. Although the tumor is now benign, she has no vision in her right eye and limited vision in her left. She's inspired many people with her positive attitude and by remaining focused on her goals. Amanda has competed at (and won) several pageants over the last decade. She's been an amazing advocate for childhood cancer awareness through the Live Like Bella Foundation and the Mystic Force Foundation in Florida, and has participated in advocacy events in both Florida and Washington, D.C. Cancer may have limited Amanda's visual acuity, but it could never limit her inner vision to make a difference in the world.
We're truly blessed to lean on the incredible inspiration provided by Ethan, Ella, and Amanda in our efforts to raise awareness of childhood cancer. For them -- and every child impacted by that insidious disease -- we Fight On.
About Friends of Jaclyn Foundation
Friends of Jaclyn Foundation aims to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers by pairing them with local high school and college sports teams, as well as motorsports organizations.