Feature Story

Nathan's Road To Recovery

By all accounts Jeff Gordon has had a frustrating and disappointing season behind the wheel of the DuPont Chevrolet. What seemed so promising in early May turned into a downward spiral and resulted in Gordon failing to finish in the top-10 in points for the first time since his rookie season of 1993. Despite three victories, some would be hard-pressed to call 2005 a successful year for Gordon. But success-- true success-- is not affirmed by victory; it is affirmed by others.

Gordon proved once again in 2005 that he remains a constant champion. Championships might be measured by trophies and million dollar paydays. However, that would be short-sighted. Champions are defined by victory, but affirmed by deeds. Who's the champion this year? Just ask Nathan Wolfe.

Thanks to his mom Jodi for sharing the following story.

By Jodi Wolfe

We wanted to share our story with others who are diehard fans of Jeff Gordon. Who knows, maybe after hearing this story someone may become a new fan!

On February 8, 2005 our 6-year-old son, Nathan was diagnosed with an extremely rare white blood cell disease called Langerhans Cell Hystiocytosis (LCH). He had started complaining in January about his knee hurting him. After a long two and a half weeks of x-rays and blood tests coming back without a clue, he resorted to crawling on his hands and knees. He could not walk.

Finally the doctors agreed that it was probably not his knee, but displaced pain from his hip. We found out his hip was fractured. He had surgery on February 2 and was thought to have had a bacterial infection on the bone. A few days passed before we found the test results were negative. The doctors tested him for LCH and the results came back positive. The disease is not cancer, but it acts like one. Nathan was in a body cast for 10 weeks and underwent chemotherapy and steroid treatments. He also had an infection that landed him back in the hospital in the middle of all he was enduring.

A friend of ours sent him a Jeff Gordon diecast car as a get well gift and he took to it right away. We were not NASCAR fans, but watched our first race in the hospital with him. We have been following Jeff all year. No matter what, Nathan would not miss a race.

Again, through the true graces of friends, we were able to attend the race at Michigan Speedway in June. Nathan was able to meet Jeff and ask him a question. Jeff even signed a car for Nathan behind the scenes. We were treated like true royalty. The look on Nathan's face and the way Jeff treated him will always be engraved in our hearts. We will always be thankful to him for that.

Nathan just started second grade and so far is in remission. God Bless you for such a special moment in our sons (and our) lives. We will never forget it.

Andy, Jodi and Nathan Wolfe
Traverse City, Michigan

JG and Nathan
Jeff meets Nathan in the hospitality area at Michigan Speedway

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