GREENVILLE, S.C. – An Upstate car club is trading racing helmets for medical helmets to benefit Greenville Health System (GHS) patients, using their unique helmet customization skills to infuse color and creativity into the lives of a family in need.
The Carolina Mopar Foothills Car Club has been fundraising for the GHS Children’s Hospital since fall 2017. While raffling off a customized racing helmet at a previous fundraiser, club member Joseph Bernard realized that medical helmets could be designed and decorated using the same acrylic materials as racing helmets, and may mean more to families worried about their child looking different from other children.
“Cars are our passion because they bring a smile to people’s faces, but if you can bring a smile to someone’s face because you’ve helped them, that’s even more important,” said Bernard. “We wear helmets for safety and style, but, if a child needs a helmet for medical purposes, that makes them look and feel different. We want to give children and families their smile back by using our skills to make these helmets fun and creative.”
Their opportunity to help came when Bethany and Jon Beazley, parents to eight month old son William, found out they needed a cranial helmet to correct William’s severe plagiocephaly, an asymmetrical skull formation common in infants. William faced several complications as a premature newborn, including being born without a left eye or ear and difficulty eating and breathing. After having a tracheal tube inserted to help his breathing, the Beazley’s were referred to the GHS Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics to have William fitted for a cranial helmet. To further complicate matters, insurance was unwilling to pay for the helmet.
When the Beazley’s need was identified, the GHS Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics reached out to the Carolina Mopar Foothills Car Club. The 400 members raised the $1,500 needed to provide the helmet in just five days.
“William has experienced one challenge after another and has overcome them all, but to then be told that we were running up against yet another roadblock to William’s health and that we didn’t have the resources available to support that need was very difficult for our family,” said Bethany. “For a group of people to hear about our need and support us so generously out of the goodness of their hearts is a huge blessing to our family, and we are so grateful.”
Bernard, who owns his own car wrap and helmet customization business, worked with the Beazley family to create a helmet design that reflected the helmet’s owner. They settled on Captain America but changed the name to Captain William to reflect William’s superhero spirit.
“Having William’s helmet decorated makes a challenging circumstance more fun, and also helps us to explain what it’s used for in a more lighthearted way,” said Bethany. “William has been through so much in his short life, and he’s fought it all like a superhero.”
The club hopes to be able to donate additional helmets in the future. To learn more about ways to give back to GHS, visit www.ghsgiving.org.
About Greenville Health System
Greenville Health System (GHS) — an academic health system that is the largest not-for-profit healthcare delivery system in South Carolina — is committed to medical excellence through research, patient care and education. GHS offers patients an innovative network of clinical integration, expertise and technologies through its eight medical campuses, tertiary medical center, research and education facilities, community hospitals, physician practices and numerous specialty services throughout the Upstate. The 1,358-bed system is home to 15 medical residency and fellowship programs. GHS is also home to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville, a joint effort of USC and GHS. Visit ghs.org for more information.