Man travels around country promoting special needs camp
Published 9:09 am Saturday, November 21, 2015
Steve Young was touched at an early age by the effects of birth defects, and he’s now on the last leg of his walking journey across the United States to raise awareness for Victory Junction Gang Camp.
Young was in Andalusia on Friday raising awareness for the camp founded by Kyle and Pattie Petty for children with chronic medical conditions or serious illness by providing camp experiences at no cost to the camper.
Young said as a child he grew up around racing and NASCAR and his family members were fans of the King – Richard Petty.
“I grew up with a girl whose mom took thalidomide and she had birth defects from it,” he said.
The drug was given to expectant mothers for morning sickness, but led to severe birth defects because the drug interfered with babies’ normal development and caused them to be born with phocomelia, which resulted in shortened, absent or flipper-like limbs.
Years later, Young heard about the camp founded by the Pettys in honor of their son, Adam, who was killed in a practice session for a Busch 200 race at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, when the throttle stuck wide open on turn three and caused his car to hit the outside wall head on.
He was killed instantly.
In his honor, his family opened Victory Junction Gang Camp, a NASCAR-themed camp located in Randleman, N.C.
The Pettys partnered with others in NASCAR such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kurt Busch, Hendrix Motorsports, Tony Stewart, and Michael Waltrip to open the camp in 2004.
“The Lord brought me out here to raise awareness,” he said. “I’m not taking donations. I’m just talking to newspapers and radio stations and TV stations, getting the word out about the camp.”
He’s headed to Dothan.
“I always go to church on the weekend,” he said. “I have been all over and am going to Georgia and then back to Virginia by the end of February or March. I started in April.”
He said he hopes to share the holidays with someone he meets along his journey.