“Racing for Independence” Simulator Program Reaches Goal with Paws With A Cause and Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International

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(WAYLAND, Mich.) – Paws With A Cause (PAWS) officials announced today has it raised more $18,000 through its partnership with Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International and the ?Racing for Independence? simulator program.  The program?s goal of raising $18,000 is the sponsorship amount needed to breed, raise, custom train and place a PAWS Assistance Dog with a person with a disability.  Over the past two years, Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International has utilized a two-seat racing simulator to showcase PAWS and highlight the partnership between the two organizations.
"Our initial intent with the simulator program was to raise awareness about Paws With A Cause to the race fans," said Bob Carso, director of communications and market strategy at International Truck and Engine Corp. "PAWS is a worthy and well-established not-for-profit organization that trains Assistance Dogs for people with disabilities and we saw a direct connection between our Ford Power Stroke diesel customers.  Nearly 75 percent have an emotional tie to or ownership of a dog, many of them are race fans themselves.  The outpour was quite unexpected and we thank each of you for your support."
The simulator program helps to educate the general public on PAWS, which encourages independence for people with a broad range of disabilities, by placing local PAWS representatives in each NCTS race market.  With no local, state or federal funding available, PAWS relies on generous donors as the lifeblood of the organization to offset the $18,000 sponsorship to breed, raise, custom train and place each Assistance Dog with a PAWS client.  An endowment fund exists for clients who need to retire their dogs and maintain the same quality of life with another PAWS Assistance Dog.
"This partnership with Ford Power Stroke Diesel by International and Terry Cook has provided us with many opportunities to educate race fans on the importance of Assistance Dogs," said Michael D. Sapp, COO at PAWS. "The donations from the race fans have helped to offset the $18,000 sponsorship of an Assistance Dog for a person with a disability. These race fans have shown their support in gracious style and welcomed the PAWS representatives at every appearance by visiting the simulator display and inquiring about the PAWS program. The PAWS program has benefited from this direct relationship and has seen an increase in support within each NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series market.
"PAWS is extremely grateful for Ford Power Stoke Diesel by International and its representatives, Terry Cook and his family and our representatives and volunteers across the country.  The "Racing for Independence" program has exceeded our expectations on the impact it’s had to create awareness for PAWS and to develop a deeper appreciation for NASCAR race fans and their generous spirit.  On behalf of our nearly 1900 PAWS clients and the thousands of people with disabilities still awaiting Assistance Dogs, thank you for your support and belief in the work we accomplish."
"Race fans are truly a generous group of people," said NCTS driver Terry Cook.  "I have seen first hand many race fans donate and take the time to visit with the local PAWS volunteers and clients at the simulator.  At Indianapolis Raceway Park, home of the Power Stroke Diesel 200, this and last year, Ford Power Stroke diesel customers donated more to PAWS than at any other event.  We definitely could not have reached this goal without everyone’s generosity in the racing community."
The "Racing for Independence" simulator program will make its final 2005 appearances in the Miami market this week.  Opportunities to meet local PAWS volunteers and clients are as follow:
Thursday, Nov. 17, 2005
Ford Fan Festival
Las Olas Riverfront, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Noon – 11 p.m. EDT
Sunday, Nov. 20, 2005
NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Pre-Race Festivities ? Ford 400
Homestead-Miami Speedway, Homestead, Fla.
10 a.m. – 2 p.m. EDT

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