Craig Laughlin put a bunch of biscuits in the basket during his NHL career. Now he’s going to try to help get a race car in victory lane for a very good cause.
The Laughlin Family Foundation is partnering with Tom and Tj Keen of Keen Parts (CorvetteParts.net) to raise funds and awareness for women’s cancers. They will do so through a sponsorship with driver and Capitals fan Ryan Ellis in the NASCAR Xfinity series.
Ellis, a George Mason alum and Ashburn, VA native, will race the car under the lights at Martinsville Speedway on Saturday, October 30 (6 PM on NBCSN). The striking pink-and-white paint scheme will feature a ribbon on each side of the car. Most importantly, there are several unique ways fans can donate and help raise money for cancer research.
First, through Thursday, October 21st, fans who donate $30 through The Laughlin Family Foundation’s website can get a name on the trunk of Ryan’s car – either their own or a friend or family member who has battled cancer.
The first 50 people who donate $150, not only get their name on the deck lid, but a 1:24 diecast replica of the car, which will be produced and mailed sometime in 2022. Ellis and Laughlin will personally sign the windshields of these limited-edition cars. (I personally will be purchasing one of these packages so that my four-year-old son can have his name on a toy race car he can play with — he’s very very excited.)
There are also several sponsorship spaces open on the car for the race, giving a local company the rare opportunity to get on a NASCAR race car and an official diecast car produced by Lionel for a reasonable price. One sponsor has already been snatched up by Rich Mar Florist.
Ellis and The Laughlin Family Foundation will also go live with an auction in the coming days featuring one-of-a-kind items. A VIP pit experience featuring meet and greets with both Ellis and Laughlin will be available as well as Ellis’ race worn suit. Other hockey merch is expected to be put up for auction too.
The NASCAR sponsorship between Keen Parts and The Laughlin Family Foundation is a first for a current or former Capitals player. Laughlin will even join Ellis at the race to root him on from pit road in-between calling October Capitals games for NBC Sports Washington. The money raised will be split between The Laughlin Family Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
“What we’re able to do thanks to Tom and TJ Keen at CorvetteParts.net is really cool,” Ryan Ellis said to RMNB. “They basically donated their purchased sponsorship space to help us raise money for these great foundations. To tie it together with Craig and his family’s foundation and the Susan G. Komen foundation is really meaningful and hopefully, the money we raise will positively affect people affected by these types of cancer.
“I learned a lot about rare cancers through the Laughlin site and we wanted to make sure that we utilized this opportunity to help people who might not have as big of a platform or as much research to work with while also helping those affected by breast cancer. I definitely want to shout out Ian Oland for initially connecting Craig and I, because without that, we wouldn’t have been able to launch this.”
As for Locker, the sponsorship not only will allow him to further explore his love of race cars, but also raise money for his foundation, which he started in 2018 due to his wife Linda being diagnosed with uterine serous carcinoma, a rare and aggressive form of uterine cancer.
“We are so humbled that Tom and Tj are so supportive of our mission. To partner with Keen Parts is really really cool. The fact they donated the space on the car shows you what great people they are and how they want to give back,” Laughlin said before smiling. “I have been a casual NASCAR fan over the years but now I am more than ever as I have gotten to know Ryan and seen his love of driving, hockey, and the Caps first hand. Plus, there sometimes seems to be more physicality after races than I ever imagined!”
The partnership is the latest big event The Laughlin Family Foundation is running to help make a real difference in the hockey and rare cancer community. Wednesday, Laughlin will be hosting fans for a Capitals’ watch party where he will release his latest beer, Locktoberfest. The proceeds of the beer will go to the foundation and is expected to sell out briskly.
“We never thought that the foundation would grow into something like it has today,” Courtney Laughlin said. “We had our first event back in February of 2020, right before the pandemic hit, and right after that we kinda went dark for a bit. Our second event, our first ever golf tournament, was just a few weeks ago… and even after the challenges we faced during COVID, the turnout was incredible. It’s been amazing to see the amount of support we’ve gotten from the Caps community, our friends, and even new friends that we’ve reached along the way. We’ve even had people who found us on sites like Reddit who reached out looking for advice and guidance on how to navigate a rare cancer diagnosis. We are starting to establish a little community for those cancer patients who feel like they don’t have a voice or a place to be heard.”
Courtney added, “We also have a pretty big announcement coming soon about a partnership with John’s Hopkins and a research project that we are funding. We couldn’t have done it without the support that we have gotten so far. So a huge thank you to everyone who has believed in our mission.”
From hosting in-person events to partnering with local breweries to sell fantastic-tasting beers, Locker has put his entire heart into the cause, which hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Keens.
“Tj and I are really excited about joining forces with a former NHL player and introducing a new group into the sport,” Keen Parts’ owner Tom Keen said. “That’s really important to us as a business and for the growth of our partnership in NASCAR. We hope this fundraiser raises a ton of money for these phenomenal campaigns- allowing us more opportunities to do it again in the future. We’re also hoping that CorvetteParts.net ‘stepping out of the track’ and into the hockey rink will be a successful transition for us.”
The inspiration and metaphorical engine behind the cause, Linda Laughlin, has felt so so much love and support from the community over the last three years. She hopes this race for a cure is another fun event that their friends and extended network can enjoy and get behind.
“To see the support that we’ve gotten from the Caps community and everyone across the DMV has meant the world to us,” Linda said. “And that support means that there is an opportunity for us to hopefully improve the lives of others that may be in a similar situation as me – for those who are diagnosed with rare cancers. Throughout this whole journey, I’ve already met several women who have these rare cancers who used to feel alone…but now through finding us, they have a little more hope.”
Here’s the full press release from Ryan Ellis motorsports:
Tom and Tj Keen of Keen Parts launch an initiative to support the fight against women’s cancers through their sponsorship of driver Ryan Ellis surrounding the NASCAR Xfinity Series race on October 30, 2021.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — October 11, 2021
Tom and Tj Keen of Keen Parts (CorvetteParts.net) are launching a campaign in conjunction with their NASCAR sponsorship of driver Ryan Ellis, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, to help raise awareness and provide funding for women’s cancers. The campaign, set to begin on Monday, October 11th, will extend through race day on October 30th, 2021 at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia.
Profits from the initiatives will be split 50/50 between The Laughlin Family Foundation and the Susan G. Komen Foundation. During the duration of the campaign, fans who donate $30.00 or more will get their name, or a name of their choice, on Ellis’ CorvetteParts.net racecar. Fans can also show their support by recognizing someone who has been affected by cancer through the $30.00 donation. Donations can be made at http://www.thelaughlinfamilyfoundation.org. The deadline for name submission is October 21, 2021.
In addition, a VIP pit experience with meet and greets with both Ellis and Laughlin will be available for auction for the October 30th race, as well as Ellis’ race worn suit. Limited corporate/ individual sponsorships are also available through donation on the quarter panel of the racecar for increased branding opportunities.
CorvetteParts.net, a family-owned business owned by Tom and Tj Keen, sells parts and accessories for Corvette-lovers of all generations. They have been loyal NASCAR sponsors and friends of many within the industry since 2011, supporting drivers of all levels since then. The Keen’s elected to donate much of their sponsorship space to these foundations to raise money for these great causes.
“Keen Parts is honored to team up with both the Laughlin Family Foundation and the Susan G. Komen organization in their quest to help fight cancer. We’re hoping that this will get a massive push and hope fans will help us raise money for everything that these fine charities do,” stated Tj Keen of CorvetteParts.net.
Ryan Ellis, driver of the CorvetteParts.net racecar said of the event, “It says so much about Tom and Tj [Keen] that they donated these sponsorship locations of their sponsored racecar to these causes. It’s a beautiful scheme that really ties the whole thing together. It’ll be so special to carry the names of these donors and families affected by cancer and I hope that we can raise a substantial amount of money to make a difference. My mother-in-law battled breast cancer and is currently in remission, and after hearing about Craig and Linda’s [Laughlin] story, the Keen’s offered to split the car for both causes which is so cool. We want to highlight all women’s cancer with this effort and I hope we can use the combined NHL, NASCAR, and extended media platforms to raise as much money as possible.”
“We are thrilled that Tom Keen at CorvetteParts.net and Ryan Ellis reached out to us about this collaboration to help support and put an end to women’s cancers. We are so excited to be a part of this,” said Craig Laughlin of The Laughlin Family Foundation.
The Laughlin Family Foundation’s mission is to help spread awareness, education and research for underfunded and rare cancers. Former NHL player and current NBC Sports Washington analyst started the foundation when his wife Linda was diagnosed with a rare gynecological cancer in 2018. The Susan G. Komen Foundation invests in research to prevent and cure breast cancer.
About Keen Parts/CorvetteParts.net:
Corvettes are all they do, so whether you’re looking for a complete interior for your vintage ’53 Corvette or a performance accessory for your ’11, they have the Corvette part you need and the expertise you want. For your Corvette exterior, they got you covered bumper-to-bumper. They even have emblems, moldings, grilles, bumpers and brackets, fiberglass, exterior trim and weather stripping. For the interior, they have steering wheels, seats, dash pads, consoles, carpeting, door panels, seat belts, interior trim and fasteners. Under the hood, they’ve got it all from air cleaners to exhaust systems, air conditioning, radiators, and valve covers all the way down to the decals and correct fasteners to bolt it all back together. For more information, please visit http://www.CorvetteParts.net or call 1-800-757-KEEN (5336).
About The Laughlin Family Foundation:
Craig and Linda Laughlin, along with their family, founded The Laughlin Family Foundation to bring awareness, support, and research to rare cancers. Craig is a former NHL player and current Capitals TV Analyst on NBC Sports Washington. He has long supported the DMV community with charitable endeavors, and has now forged his own foundation to help fight this devastating disease. In April 2018, Craig’s wife, Linda, was diagnosed with a rare form of endometrial cancer – uterine serous carcinoma – a disease which only affects approximately 6,000 women per year in the United States. While Linda’s diagnosis came as a shock, it also shed light on the realization that there are hundreds of other rare cancers. Affecting over 100,000 people each year, there is very limited patient and clinical knowledge for these cancers.
About Susan G Komen:
In 1980, Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan, that she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became the Susan G. Komen® organization and the beginning of a global movement. What was started with $200 and a shoebox full of potential donor names has now grown into the world’s largest nonprofit source of funding for the fight against breast cancer. To date, we’ve invested more than $2.9 billion in groundbreaking research, community health outreach, advocacy and programs in more than 60 countries. Our efforts helped reduce deaths from breast cancer by 40 percent between 1989-2016 and we won’t stop until our promise is fulfilled.
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