by Gina Maybee
(First appeared in the July 2018 issue of The Equiery)
The weekend of May 18-20, nine drivers from Rosecroft Raceway in Prince George’s County joined the harness racing industry across North America in Trotting 4 Charity, an event in which participating drivers and trainers from harness tracks wear a customized jersey with the logo of a non-profit charity that they have chosen, during the live race card. The jerseys are later auctioned off, with proceeds benefitting the various charities.
Russell Foster chose Freedom Hill Horse Rescue of Calvert County as his non-profit. Freedom Hill Horse Rescue is committed to saving neglected, abused and unwanted horses that are typically difficult to adopt. Volunteers from Freedom Hill Horse Rescue came out to Rosecroft to cheer him on!
Leading driver Frank Milby selected Talbot Special Riders, a therapeutic horseback riding program providing therapy for physically, mentally and emotionally challenged individuals as his non-profit. Milby volunteers at Talbot Special Riders when he is not driving and training Standardbreds. Volunteers from the program rented a bus and made the trip across the Bay Bridge to cheer on their fellow volunteer as he raced wearing their logo on his replica jersey.
Timmy Offutt’s charity was Kaisy Knott, by way of Maryland International Harvester Collectors Club Chapter #39. Kaisy Knott is a young girl from Carroll County who is very active in 4H. Kaisy was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPG), an aggressive, inoperable, incurable brain cancer. Kaisy is currently receiving treatment in Mexico, but her insurance does not cover any of the costs. Since they started the treatment in Mexico, Kaisy’s tumor has decreased in size. She still has physical side effects but is back to school, back to riding her horse and continues to compete in 4-H events. The Rosecroft community found out about Kaisy’s story thru Dan Herbst, Track Superintendent at Rosecroft Raceway.
Declan Donaway selected St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as his charity. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, is one of the world’s premier centers for the research and treatment of pediatric cancer and other catastrophic childhood diseases. The hospital is unique in that it does not charge for its services.
Driver Brian Burton wore the logo of Potomac Valley Boxing Association on his replica jersey. Potomac Valley Boxing Association is a non-profit organization responsible for sanctioning and supervising amateur boxing activity in Washington, DC, Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
Allan Davis chose Nemours Fund for Children’s Health as his charity. The Nemours Fund for Children’s Health builds and nurtures relationships with individuals and organizations that work to advance the mission of Nemours through philanthropy. Through the generosity of their founder Alfred I. duPont, 100% of every contribution goes to support patient care, biomedical research and prevention and education initiatives.
Roger Plante selected Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) as his charity. RMHC provides vital resources and compassionate care to children and their families being served by leading hospitals worldwide. RMHC provides access to health care and enables family-centered care.
Ricky Still’s charity was Make-A-Wish® America. Tens of thousands of volunteers, donors and supporters advance the Make-A-Wish® vision to grant the wishes of children diagnosed with critical illnesses. In the U.S. and its territories, on average, a wish is granted every 34 minutes.
Jason Thompson’s Trotting 4 Charity jersey carried the logo for the Alzheimer’s Association. This charity holds a special place in Thompson’s heart, since his grandfather suffers from the disease. The bond between Thompson and his grandfather is a special one, and anyone knows them knows that Jason’s grandfather is his hero.
After the race day, the jerseys that the Rosecroft drivers wore were placed in an online auction. So far, the auction has raised a total of $2,755 in donations to the drivers’ charities. As of press time, Timmy Offutt’s jersey had received the highest bid donations in the program.