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April 22, 2011
By Nichole Beckman, media relations assistant
Vote for Kristina Maddox's car design by going to this link.
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Northwest Missouri State University student Kristina Maddox is showcasing her design talents while raising cancer awareness and remembering a boy from her hometown in the Toyota Racing Sponsafy Your Ride contest.
Maddox, an interactive digital media major from Auxvasse, heard about the Toyota NASCAR design challenge while watching races with her family. The online contest featured race car designs created by everyday people and voted on by NASCAR fans.
After some research, Maddox discovered many of the race car submissions from previous competitions brought awareness to diseases and remembered loved ones. Maddox immediately thought of Zac Tally.
Seven-year-old Zac lived in Auxvasse, the small community Maddox grew up in. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, in 2008 and lost his battle with the aggressive cancer a year later. DIPG is a form of brain cancer located in the brain stem that occurs in young children ranging from 5 to 10 years of age. Children diagnosed with the disease have a survival rate of around nine months.
"Auxvasse is a small community where everyone knows everyone," Maddox said. "When we found out Zac had this disease we all pulled together and went through it as a community."
It took Maddox around an hour to create the race car using a program provided on the NASCAR website. She wanted the car to represent Zac and focused the design on his love for baseball and his little league team's colors, green and white. She also placed "DIPG warriors," the name children with DIPG call themselves, on the sides of the car. She placed the full name of Zac's disease on the back and "Zac Attack" on the hood.
Zac Attack is the foundation Zac's mother, Chrystal, created after he passed away. The foundation serves a variety of needs from helping local families with the cost of medical bills to assisting people who can't afford the community's little league fees.
With support from Zac's family, Maddox submitted the design.
"The community was so thrilled and happy that I was doing this contest for Zac, as well as the rest of the DIPG community," Maddox said. "I'm currently talking to families across the country that are behind me in spreading the word to promote this horrible disease on a national platform."
The contest results are based on public voting, which determines the final winner. Winners are chosen based on a judged grading scale and public voting. The first place winner's design will be made into an actual car and be the pace car May 20 at the NASCAR All-Star Race in Charlotte, N.C.
On April 14 the first round of voting closed. Maddox's design was among the top 10 vote-getters out of 35,000 car designs. Now, her car design is in the final round. People may vote for her design through May 1 by going to http://www.sponsafier.com/#/gallery/view/45003.
Maddox said she appreciates the attention the competition has brought, but hopes to win the contest so she can spread awareness about DIPG.
"If we could get to the top and be recognized on national television people might donate to the cause and even help families with medical bills or the funeral cost of their children," Maddox said. "It would be great to go on in the competition, but it has been truly amazing to see the response this design has received."
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
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