|On December 14, 1999 four and a half-year-old Erica Burney passed away from unforeseen complications following open-heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Erica had faced a number of health obstacles in her life with determination and courage. In her memory her family founded the Erica Burney Foundation in late February. This weekend at Phoenix International Raceway race teams will honor her.
Erica’s grandfather is Geoff Burney, car owner of the #00 Oliver Gravity Separators Chevrolet, driven in the NASCAR Winston West Series by Scott Gaylord. Geoff was 1985 SSGT class champion of the Sport Car Club of America’s Midwest Division, winning 5 of 7 races and finishing third at the Valvoline Runoffs.
On March 6, 2000 Geoff was discharged from the hospital following successful bypass surgery on his left leg. While having tests prior to surgery, Geoff discovered that he has a controllable form of diabetes that has plagued him since before he was winning races. As a result Geoff has pledged to help raise both dollars for and awareness of this common disease as well as the other work of the Foundation.
Erica’s father is Adam Burney, twice Spec Racer champion of the same SCCA Division. Her mother is Ann Burney, active in the NEOKLA Region of the SCCA. Erica grew up around racing cars although she never really liked the noise too much.
The Erica Burney Foundation was founded to provide financial help to organizations promoting a variety of health issues, focused on child health and diabetes. One major project of the Foundation is creating a more family oriented waiting room during a major remodeling of St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. Their pediatric intensive care unit, where Erica was born and also died, serves a four-state area around the city. Another project will involve diabetes education projects around the country. The Foundation will also support the Oley Foundation, which helps gastronomy tube fed persons of all ages. This was Erica’s last hurdle to overcome to being a normal schoolgirl.
The #00 Oliver Chevy is wearing special decals this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway in honor of Erica. Other cars in the field are invited to join our team. Teams from the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and the Indy Racing League are also invited to participate this weekend. Cars in other race series, including SCCA National club racers across the country, will also carry Erica’s colors.
Teams and race fans alike can make tax-deductible contributions to the Erica Burney Foundation c/o PO Box 545, Rocky Ford, CO 81067. All contributions large and small are welcome and will be gratefully acknowledged. For further information call at 888-254-5868 or e-mail at email@example.com.