Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of a four-part series on the four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award.
A very personal circumstance led Daryl Farler to help found Amputee Blade Runners (ABR), an organization devoted to providing free running and sports prosthetics to lower-limb amputees. He shares his client’s personal loss due to an unfortunate accident that led him to lose sight in one of his eyes, hearing in one ear, and undergo a partial amputation of each finger and amputation of both legs.
After relearning to walk and run, Farler began competing in foot races as an amputee athlete. He embarked on a career in prosthetics. Transforming his pain into an opportunity for others to achieve a more active lifestyle seems to be his calling.
“Working with our grant recipients has shown me the true spirit of the individual,” Farler said.
He gives to others what he’s been given – the joy of mobility and speed. He believes that every child should have the ability to run. Farler is a powerful advocate within the limb-different community, not only serving as a mentor for the pediatric clients of ABR, but also raising nearly $100,000 for the organization.
Farler’s work with children is wide ranging. He helped Hannah, a young girl with only four fingers and no feet, learn to love running. She’s now competing at the upper levels of track with her eye on the Paralympics. He recruited Noah, a young boy born without hands and only one foot, to ABR’s services and he’s now a starter on his middle school basketball team.
Farler, from Franklin, Tennessee, is one of four finalists for The NASCAR Foundation’s 10th annual Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award. The award, named in honor of the foundation’s late founder and chairwoman, honors NASCAR fans who are accomplished volunteers working for children’s causes in their communities throughout the United States.
A NASCAR fan nearly all of his life, Farler grew up at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway where his dad worked as part of the fire crew. As an adult, he has attended several races, including returning to Daytona International Speedway (DIS) in July 2007, the year following his accident. He was determined to climb to his seats as he and his dad had for the last eight years.
The winner of the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award will be determined via an online fan vote that is ongoing through Nov. 4 at 12 p.m. ET at NASCARfoundation.org/Award. The winner will be announced virtually Nov. 5. Each of the finalists is guaranteed a minimum donation of $25,000 from The NASCAR Foundation, with the overall winner receiving a $100,000 donation from The NASCAR Foundation.
If Farler wins, children with limb loss will gain so much. These kids will not only gain the physical benefits of being able to fully engage with their peers in running, play and sports, but will realize increased confidence, socialization and a more positive self-image.
The cost of running legs is not covered by insurance and for many families is cost-prohibitive. This award would change the lives of 50 of the toughest children by providing free equipment, education and ongoing support to help improve their mobility, health, and self-esteem.
“The kids … they just want to be normal,” Farler said. “The kids we work with are superheroes!”