Friday, February 28, 2014

Alexis DeJoria for Grow Appalachia and Nevada Health Centers’ Mammovan

Name: Alexis DeJoria

What is your job? Driver, Kalitta Motorsports Patrón XO Cafe nitro Funny Car

What social causes are most important to you? Grow Appalachia & anything relating to women’s health. Most recently, I’ve gotten involved with the Nevada Health Centers’ Mammovan program.

How do you support these? Grow Appalachia- I donate money and spread awareness of the organization with my family whenever possible.
Nevada Health Centers- I worked with this organization to bring their mammovan out to our most recent Las Vegas NHRA race and provide free mammograms for any woman in attendance throughout all three days of the race weekend, regardless of whether or not they had health insurance.

Why do you have a passion for these in particular, is there a personal tie? There are very personal ties with both. Grow Appalachia was started by my father, John Paul DeJoria. A friend and executive at John Paul Mitchell Systems (a company co-founded and co-owned by my dad) grew up in rural Appalachia and explained the hardships of food security. My dad is a natural problem solver, especially when it comes to issues at home here in America, so upon hearing the story, he created Grow Appalachia. The organization helps those living in the impoverished region create a way to help feed their families and empower themselves. They teach people how to grow their own organic gardens which not only enables them to feed their families healthy food, but supplies them with a chance to sell their produce as well- it’s a win-win all around.

I decided to get involved with the Nevada Health Centers last year after we lost some very special women in the racing community to various forms of cancer. Like many other professional race teams, come mid-summer, I was meeting with my team to discuss what our campaign would be to support October’s Breast Cancer Awareness month. Our racing community had been hit especially hard this past year with loss, and I really wanted to do something more than just run a pink race car and donate a portion of proceeds of our merchandise to a breast cancer charity. Those things are great, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to do something that could perhaps be a direct impact on our racing community. I wanted to do something that could be a preventative measure, rather than just a reactive measure. That’s where we came up with the idea of ‘hey, wouldn’t it be awesome if we could bring a mobile mammogram unit out to the race track and provide free mammograms?’ We race in Las Vegas in October, so we called around to a few different organizations out there, and really liked what Nevada Health Centers stood for- they were completely on the same page as us. Thanks to a partnership with them, we were able to provide over 100 free mammograms to women attending the race that weekend. According to NVHC, over 80% of the women that took part in the free mammogram program that weekend did not have health insurance, and told us that if we hadn’t provided this service, they likely would not have had this important screening performed otherwise, which is really staggering, if you think about it.

Is there a particular way you would want to encourage readers to be involved? I think just do anything you can. Even if you aren’t able to help out financially, that’s alright. Sometimes an extra pair of hands is even more appreciated. Encourage your children to get involved at a young age.

How would you define social responsibility?  As much as we want to help the whole world, I believe that charity starts at home. We need to help our own people before we go outside the U.S. There are so many issues that need to be addressed in our own backyards, & our own communities first. Start small and work your way from there. Don’t let the term ‘social responsibility’ overwhelm you. Something as simple as donating your time at a shelter, serving meals, is a great first step.

Quick list of your tattoos and artists:  Mark Mahoney & Bob Vessels have done the majority of my work. I’m also in the process of getting some new work done on my arm by Nikko Hurtado who has done my husband’s chest, which looks awesome- like a painting. His work looks very realistic.  Each artist that I’ve chosen has something very cool and unique about their particular style of work; I like to have a mixture of tattoo styles; not the same all over.

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