Hospital Visit Hits Home For Martin Truex Jr.

(NASCAR Wire Service)

Reid Spencer ~ NASCAR Wire Service

Martin Truex Jr. (Photo: Chris Trotman/Getty Images)

LAS VEGAS – Matthew, a sixth grader, took a long look at the hero card.

Then he glanced up at Martin Truex Jr.’s face and made the connection.

“Wow!” exclaimed Matthew, a pediatric patient at Sunrise Children’s Hospital, as he recognized the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion.

Truex smiled back, happy to provide a moment of pleasure to a stricken child whose every step is accompanied by an IV machine.

A knot of reporters and photographers followed Truex on his visit to the hospital, but the champion’s appearance—during a week set aside to celebrate his accomplishments on the track, culminating in his first series title—had a much deeper meaning to the veteran driver than a mere photo opportunity.

Truex’s girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, has been battling ovarian cancer. And even before Pollex was diagnosed in 2014, she and Truex had been active in children’s causes through the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation. Their “Catwalk for a Cause” fashion show has raised more than $550,000 in the fight against childhood and ovarian cancer.

“It’s definitely an honor to do it,” Truex said of the visit. “For them to ask us to come here, and for NASCAR to schedule it and put it all together … it’s such a grounding process when you go in there. It’s a constant reminder, when you see those kids, of just how lucky we are to do what we do, and not only that, to wake up and be healthy every day.

“It’s just so unfair to see them, and it breaks my heart to see how much pain they’re in and how tired they are. It’s a tough thing to figure out how to talk to them, what to say and try to just maybe cheer them up a little. It’s definitely humbling to come here and maybe help just a little bit.”

In the children’s playroom, Truex sat at a small table with four children. In front of them at the center of the table were two Pinewood Derby-style wooden cars decorated by the patients. One car bore the markings “MTJ 78.” The other read simply “Champion.”

Truex signed large hero cards and gave them to the children. Before he left the playroom, Truex and several of the children raced the wooden cars on a long, inclined track.

Through his frequent visits to the Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, N.C., Truex has interacted with many pediatric patients, but the appearances are never routine. Pollex’s battle against cancer makes them even more poignant.

“That’s why we do it at home,” Truex said. “We’re going to Levine’s in a few weeks to give out Christmas presents, to do the same thing—to try to shed a little light and a little happiness for them. I can’t imagine what they’re going through and how they must think and feel.

“It’s just a reminder of how lucky we are. That’s the biggest thing, I think.”

Visits like the “Giving Tuesday” trip to the Sunrise Children’s Hospital are emblematic of the way Truex hopes to represent the sport as its champion.

“I love NASCAR. I love racing,” Truex said. “That’s what I grew up with as a childhood dream of mine. So I’m going to do the best job I can and try to represent the sport well. There are a lot of great champions who have come before me, and hopefully I’ll be able to hold up my end of the deal.

“I’ll try my best. I’m probably a little different than most have been, I would say, but hopefully I’ll bring something to the table that will help the sport.”

If you were to ask the children at Sunrise Hospital, he already has.


  1. Never really followed Martin much he sounds like a true champion kudos to him

  2. darealgoodfella says

    Martin Truex is the champion NASCAR so desperately needed.

  3. This couple is such a class act!

  4. Boy am I going to get blasted on this one but here goes.
    Not a fan of this type of thing. Having twin sons with cerebral palsy that endured 8 or so operations each on their eyes, heel cords, hips, tonsils and more, my wife and I spend many days in hospitals as the boys recovered. What seemed to mean a lot is the nameless people that volunteered daily to spend time with the children. Special events were big on the holidays and clowns always a favorite.
    All major sports do this. I get it. It’s a media event as the gaggle of reporters in this article and it’s source attest. Is it a good thing, of course. Is this the most important thing to this child, you’re darned tootin it is. Is it the most important thing to recovering children across the country in hospitals………not at all.
    My thanks goes to Janet. One of the many volunteers across the country that spent so much time on the ward at Shriners Hospital in Springfield. Bringing a smile to some of the most courageous children in the country enduring endless days trapped in a hospital bed but always ready to smile when someone showed they cared. Not one day, not with any media attending but doing it out of the goodness of her heart.

  5. It was a good thing Truex did for sure.But would it have been done without reporters,and media .That’s the Question.I HOPE he would ,and believe it.Other people I am not so sure of.

  6. Doug – Do some research before you comment on Truex’s commitment to this. He spends a LOT of time and energy to support this cause. Not trying to belittle the volunteers, as they are ABSOLUTELY the unsung heroes in this, but having a celebrity who dedicates their time and effort to educate people and raise money to support it is JUST as important. NASCAR was going to do something to make themselves and Truex look good. He chose the vehicle that they used, a cause that he spends a LOT of time supporting. Use Google. I posted ONE link to an article which touches on his involvement.

  7. So if I’m getting this right RichC you view this as a tug of war. But what if everyone is pulling on the same side? All I said was maybe some people didn’t notice Janet and others like her way in back in the anchor position pulling every day. And I do believe your recognized that. Thanks.

  8. Doug – Nope. Not a tug of war. I read your comment as saying that things like what Truex did in Charlotte were not as important, and I strongly disagree with that. Without celebrities volunteering their time to act as spokespeople, raising money, doing the special events at holidays, there wouldn’t be as many volunteers needed, as there wouldn’t be as many facilities. People that volunteer their time to work in situations where there are needs are critical, but without the money, there’s almost nothing. 2 sides to the same coin. If I misinterpreted what you were trying to say, my bad.

  9. darealgoodfella says

    Celebrities do plenty of things like this, and probably most of it is out of the eyes of the media. Take Dale Earnhardt Sr., for example. After his death, there were numerous reports on his charity and generosity, things that never made the news while he was alive. Don’t think that these folks do this for narcissistic reasons, they do far more that never makes the headlines.

  10. I get it RichC. Anecdotes on an anonymous web site are only as good as the credibility of the person relating them. So for you my endless time in hospitals watching and talking to volunteers doesn’t count as research and your Google search does. Fair enough. Lionel Train Engineer calls himself an engineer with teams he works with and a good friend in the WMT and I think he’s a self aggrandizing liar. Maybe you feel the same about my anecdote. So we’ll keep it simple.
    The draft horses and the show ponies all work for the same circus. The draft horses get the show to the location and the show ponies bring in the crowd. Both make the show successful and if either is absent there is no show.
    Celebrities across every sport, every entertainment industry and every industry make it a point to be connected to volunteerism and charities. From Truex to Donald Trump and his Trump Foundation it’s both altruistic and good for business. In many cases there are significant tax advantages with very wealthy people. Celebrities are a critical element to volunteerism. We all support that. Are their motives purely altruistic. Sometimes perhaps. But for most it’s charity combined with simply good PR and PR makes celebrity go. Regardless of how you view Truex and celebrity giving you can’t deny one thing. The truest form of giving and volunteerism. The purest in every sense is anonymous with no expectation of any recognition in any way.

  11. You proved my point RichC. You blew off my anecdote like it never existed, laser focused on Truex and his volunteer activities and defended him like a mamma bear protecting her cub. Did combining charity with good PR work for Truex. Heck ya with RichC by gum.

  12. No Doug, you are COMPLETELY wrong. I give your experience real credibility. I was NOT commenting on your experience or the volunteers, but rather the cynical comment about Truex and his motivation. You don’t know him, you didn’t take the time to understand his situation and motivation, and I was calling you out on that. Your comment was insensitive, uneducated, and dead wrong. Your experiences with your child’s medical needs and the way that they were handled has absolutely NOTHING to do with what Truex does or the publicity it gets. Martin Truex has an outstanding reputation with the Northeast racing community, and if you were truly a racing fan as you claim to be you would know something about it.

    Also, I get that you have a feud going with dareal, as he will tell you I’ve gone around with him a few time myself. Don’t EVER try to use him as a basis for what you think I’m trying to say. Read my post and try to understand it instead.

  13. Doug, you wrote a comment that passed off Truex’ actions as a media stunt without any foundation for the statement. That’s what I was calling you out on, nothing more. He chooses to do something good, a “media stunt” that is consistent with his personal situation (his fiancé has cancer) and his past actions (over 7 years supporting his local children’s cancer center) and you called it a media stunt. Go away or grow up.

  14. darealgoodfella says

    Doug wrote, “From Truex to Donald Trump and his Trump Foundation it’s both altruistic and good for business.”

    Hey Doug, sorry to disappoint you, but the Trump Foundation is shutdown because it was a fraud, which is not good for business. Sorta like Trump University, another fraud.

  15. Bad start RichC. I can’t be completely wrong if you agreed with part of what I said.
    Here’s the thing RichC. I’ll use Lionel Train Engineer anyway I like at any time. In my view it’s not a feud. Feuds are for people that respect each other on some level. In my view he’s a lying, manipulating opportunist and of no regard. In my reference to him I was connecting how people relate to anecdotes. I have no respect for him and view what he says with no regard. You could have felt the same about my anecdote which I would have understood. The only one that connected you to him was you.
    All across America average people such as yourself place special meaning to whatever celebrities do and say. Whomever your hero is, a sports figure, a movie star, TV personality so many people value the facade they see knowing little nor even caring about the substance. My view that’s why we have the president we do. That’s why you are taking this Truex thing like something personal. I think it’s shallow of you as is the implication that my interest in racing is invalid if I am not completely familiar with Truex’s charitable activities.
    If you’re going to feud with me at least have the courtesy to repeat what I say and not what makes your argument sound better. I said “media event” not “media stunt”. Media stunt is a pejorative term I would never use unless I wanted to marginalize a person. Clearly I have said nothing other then I am not a fan of celebrity media events. That’s as negative as I got. I praised Truex and celebrities that do such work. I made the point they benefit on multiple levels. And I especially was thankful for the nameless volunteers like Janet in the trenches doing the hard, unrecognized work.
    You’re feuding with a person you created cause the “media stunt” guy is more the product of your misplaced hero worship.

  16. You know Lionel Train Engineer I could have put any celebrities foundation in there including Clintons but I chose Trump cause I knew you’d bite and say something stupid. The point isn’t Trump Foundation nor whether it is active or not. It’s the multi level benefit of charitable foundations for the very wealthy. And now that I’ve explained it to you, you probably still won’t get it and will probably reference some sort of body waste of function.
    I am ashamed to say that we do share one common belief or at least I think we do. That Trump is a self aggrandizing, arrogant, lying, opportunistic phony that is undermining our institutions brick by brick and sucking the fundamental goodness out of our country tweet by tweet. And I could swear you take every opportunity to mimic his behavior in many respects.
    No harshing my buzz today. Flynn pleads guilty, agrees to provide Moeller with evidence implicating those above him including Trump according to Brian Ross of ABC. Time will tell.

  17. So then I guess you’re saying that celebrities doing charitable work isn’t as valuable because the media picks up on it. So I guess you think they shouldn’t do it. So I guess you’re the idiot. So I guess we’re not having a feud. That whole mutual respect thing. No special meaning, other than I believe you are marginalizing what he did just because it was covered by the media. Tried to educate you on what he really does all the time. You’re not interested in hearing it. Done talking to a wall. Have a good night.

  18. darealgoodfella says

    RichC, please don’t insult walls.

  19. If you were a person of any regard RichC you’d apologize for lying and misrepresenting what I said. Clearly you aren’t. And now you have Lionel Train Engineer in tow to help you, The circle of misrepresentation and deception is complete.

  20. Doug,

    From above – “If I misinterpreted what you were trying to say, my bad”. Followed by more drivel marginalizing what Truex does. I can’t even read your rambling nonsense any more.

  21. I have said all I have to say as well except for this. I would like to extend my apologies to the moderator and anyone that may read this for mentioning politics. This should be a politics free zone. Lord knows we get enough of that every day.

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