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NASCAR Auction Will Benefit Pediatric Bone Marrow Patients

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CARY — Dozens of sick children are receiving high-tech, high-dollar bone marrow treatments at theDuke Children's Health Center. Patients' families are getting financial help from an unlikely source -- a convenience store owner who collects NASCAR memorabilia.

Steve Byers is auctioning off many items -- from Dale Earnhardt's racing suit to a hood signed by dozens of drivers -- to benefit families at the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Clinic at Duke Children's Health Center.

With a bone marrow transplant costing as much as $350,000, families sometimes need a hand to help pay the bills. Auctioning his staggering volume of memorabilia is Byers' way of helping. The items are interesting, as are the stories of Byers' trips to procure the memorabilia.

Of his big, autographed car hood, Byers says he took a lumber cart, put the hood on it and used a garage pass to get to the drivers.

"The drivers are working during practice and qualifying, but we try to be polite and catch them at a time where they've had a little lull and get them to sign it," he says. "We're generally there from about 7 a.m. until about 6 p.m."

Byers' hard work has helped people like Ed Secord from California. His 11-year-old son, Chris, has been at Duke for two years.

"He helped me save my house by providing the money that was needed to pay the mortgage during a crucial month," Secord says.

Byers hopes his auction will raise about $30,000 for people like the Secords. Next year, Byers hopes to include a visit from a Winston Cup driver at the auction.


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