Over Father's Day weekend, the full Mazda Road to Indy Ladder Series roared into Wisconsin for the famed Milwaukee Mile. The contestant I was rooting for was Zach "Ziggy" Veach, a terrific young advocate in our fight against distracted driving. I'm sure that Zach raced on Sunday hoping to win one for his dad, but he also had an even more important mission: to raise awareness and support for the family of 6-year-old Xzavier Davis-Bilbo.
Xzavier was paralyzed last October 2010 when a texting driver struck him while he and his sister crossed the street. He is now wheelchair-bound and remains on a ventilator. His family is unable to afford a wheelchair-accessible van to transport Xzavier. The only time he is able to leave his home is for his many medical visits.
Zach heard about Xzavier's injuries through FocusDriven, a national advocacy group supporting victims of distracted driving and working to educate others about the dangers of this deadly epidemic:
"I was heart-broken when I heard about Xzavier's story. From this tragic incident, his life is completely changed, and we have to do all we can to help him and his family."
Zach decided to carry on his race car an "X-man" sticker with the words, "Xzavier=survivor." The sticker features the web address for the family's effort to raise money for Xzavier's care, xzavier-survivor.com. Zach also spent most of the week before the Milwaukee Mile sharing Xzavier's story with his fans and the media.
And he got the entire Andretti Autosport team to put the "X-man" stickers on their cars. The stickers must've brought good luck: Zach took home 2nd place in the USF2000 race and Andretti teammate Sage Karam took the checkered flag to win the Star Mazda Series race. In the day's biggest event, the IZOD IndyCar race, Andretti Autosport's Danica Patrick enjoyed her strongest performance of the 2011 season, finishing 5th in the godaddy.com car.
All of the Andretti drivers have autographed one of Zach’s tires, which will be auctioned to raise money for Xzavier and his family.
Says Zach, "I'm honored to have heard this family's story, to help them in a small way, and to have the support of my fellow Andretti Autosport teammates as well as Racing for Kids and The Michael Andretti Foundation."
Well, Zach, I have to say that the safety community and the racing world are also honored to share such a fine example of leadership and generosity. Thank you for working so hard on Xzavier's behalf; both of you are certainly winners to us.