Great Clips and partner Children's Miracle Network named Jack Stapleton, a survivor of severe skull and brain trauma, co-grand marshal for the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday, Sept. 4.
As co-grand marshal, the 10-year-old will have the honor of starting the field for the Great Clips 300 with the most-famous words in racing, "Gentleman, start your engines," an act few would have imagined possible for Stapleton just years earlier.
In May 2004, during a family outing, 4-year-old Jack fell off a pontoon boat into the water and his head was struck by the boat's propeller. His mother immediately jumped in after him, and although she was quickly able to locate him, she struggled to bring him to the surface.
When rescuers arrived, Jack was airlifted to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta in critical condition. The next 48 hours were marked by words such as "cautiously optimistic" and "potentially survivable." After clinging to life in a drug-induced coma for a few weeks, Jack was strong enough to endure multiple surgeries. Through the many complex procedures, including the removal of the left side of Jack's skull, surgeons at Children's have been able to perform a complete and successful reconstruction.
Selected as a 2006 Miracle Child by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, Stapleton and his mother, Jackie, would later make a presentation to Atlanta-area Great Clips franchisees. On behalf of the Children's Miracle Network, she shared the importance of donating to the non-profit organization to help children in need of medical assistance.
Now, after the Atlanta franchisees made the largest group contribution to the Children's Miracle Network of any Great Clips franchisee region, the Atlanta-area Great Clips franchisees have selected Stapleton to hold the honorary grand marshal role for the Great Clips 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series night race.
Stapleton will be joined by Terri Miller, Great Clips vice president of marketing, and Betsy Clinton, an Atlanta-area Great Clips franchisee, as co-grand marshals. Greg Thomas, an Atlanta-area Great Clips franchisee, will fill the role of Official Starter for the Great Clips 300 and Great Clips chief financial officer Steve Overholser will present the winner's trophy in Atlanta Motor Speedway's Victory Lane.
The biggest Labor Day party in the USA is at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Emory Healthcare 500 race weekend on Sept. 3-6, including the Great Clips 300 on Saturday, Sept. 4. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact the Atlanta Motor Speedway Ticket Office at (770) 946-4211, (877) 9-AMS-TIX, or visit www.atlantamotorspeedway.com.