Thirty years ago, NHRA Top Fuel legend Darrell Gwynn was injured in a racing accident in England and confined to a wheelchair. Since then he has worked tirelessly to advocate for those in similar or worse situations, including the annual Track Walk For Those Who Can't at the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.
Through the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis and the Buoniconti Fund, Gwynn has created a Wheelchair Challenge to commemorate the 30th anniversary of his paralyzing accident, the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month in September.
"They challenged me to come up with something that people could do at home or at the office during COVID because charities can't have the normal fundraising events and gatherings we normally would," said Gwynn. "You never know what's going to work, but this one seems to be making a difference. My goal is to raise $1 million and we're well on our way towards that."
Participants agree to sit in the “Hot Seat” of a provided wheelchair and are asked to sit in it and spend some time trying to do every day, normal things in theirhome or office, then share their videos and descriptions via social media, and then challenge one of their friends to sit in the “Hot Seat” for a day. Participants also are asked to donate funs to further the cause.
The idea is to convey how it feels to lose, temporarily, a key function nearly everyone takes for granted –- mobility and get the public at large to understand the challenges we face on a daily basis. This has been the reality for Gwynn for more than 30 years, and millions of others around the world. It is his hope that this effort will get people to understand a little bit more about the challenges millions face each day.
NHRA champions Steve Torrence and Jeg Coughlin Jr. are among those who have stepped up to sit down, as have a number of other motorsports drivers Darrell and Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, and Ryan Newman,, and NHRA's Alex Laughlin and Antron Brown also will be taking part soon.
For more information about the Wheelchair Challenge, visit http://bit.ly/DG_WC_Challenge.
Help me & my great friend @DarrellGwynn stand up for the people who can’t by donating— Steve Torrence (@SteveTorrence) September 22, 2020
👉 https://t.co/9eKcaWv15g@BuonicontiFund | #DGWheelchairChallenge | #StandUpForThoseWhoCant | #TheMiamiProject pic.twitter.com/EMEV6jtmDe
Never would have imagined how hard it is to adjust to life in a wheelchair. Help #StandUpForThoseWhoCant with me by donating to the @BuonicontiFund.— Steve Torrence (@SteveTorrence) September 22, 2020
DONATE 👉 https://t.co/9eKcaWv15g@DarrellGwynn | #TheMiamiProject | #DGWheelChairChallenge pic.twitter.com/o2aubWNMJf
I was in the "Hot Seat" as part of the #dgwheelchairchallenge and we raised $10k. We decided we would match funds from our followers & fans up $10k more. https://t.co/ZzigJovZ5D pic.twitter.com/yjeIGoypFw— Jeg Coughlin Jr. (@Jeg_Jr) September 22, 2020
Recently, @Jeg_Jr was in the "Hot Seat" as part of the #DGWheelchairChallenge for longtime friend and @NHRA legend Darrell Gwynn. #StandUpForThoseWhoCant #TheMiamiProject #SCIAwarenessMonth #ADA30 @JEGSPerformance #JEGScares pic.twitter.com/q3vAvziavW— Team JEGS (@TeamJEGS) September 15, 2020
Let’s help our friend Darrell Gwynn raise money and awareness by sitting in the Hot Seat! @BuonicontiFund #dgwheelchairchallenge #standupforthosewhocant #SCIAwarenessMonth #ADA30 Who’s in? pic.twitter.com/2z5OTBnOMx— Michael Waltrip (@MW55) September 15, 2020
I’m supporting my friend Darrell Gwynn by sitting in the “Hot Seat” to help bring awareness & raise money through his chapter of The @BuonicontiFund’s Wheelchair Challenge.— Ryan Newman (@RyanJNewman) September 15, 2020
Donate: https://t.co/m8EqYSqCJQ#DGWheelchairChallenge #StandUpForThoseWhoCant #SCIAwarenessMonth #ADA30 pic.twitter.com/KRCQEP4F0z
Darrell Gwynn is a dear sweet friend of mine. Yesterday and today I sat in the hot seat to help him raise money for his foundation. I’m going to challenge some of my friends to do the same thing. @BuonicontiFund #dgwheelchairchallenge #standupforthosewhocant #themiamiproject pic.twitter.com/iv3SuerbjC— Darrell Waltrip (@AllWaltrip) September 2, 2020