Oct 7, 2014
Driver & Team Honor Local Child Who Lost Battle With Cancer
CONCORD, N.C. (October 7, 2014) – The Charlotte Motor Speedway race weekend will be a meaningful one for Michael McDowell and the Leavine Family Racing team as they honor a Davidson, N.C. child who recently lost his battle with cancer.
Pieter Cornelis Swart, IV, age 5, passed away on Sept. 21, 2014 after a long battle with Neuroblastoma, an aggressive pediatric cancer.  Pieter was diagnosed at age 3 and his family stated “he fought with dignity and strength, inspiring many along his journey.”
McDowell’s son Trace, 5, has been a preschool classmate with Pieter for the past three years. 
“His passing has been tough,” said McDowell.  “He’s been in and out of remission.  The last three or four weeks he’s been really sick and his treatment wasn’t taking.  It wasn’t all unexpected but you still hold on to hope that a miracle can happen.”
To celebrate Pieter’s life and bring awareness to this type of cancer, Pieter’s Pals will be placed on the hood of the No. 95 KLOVE Ford Fusion.
“It’s really special to me and I’m thankful that Bob and Sharon (Leavine, team owners) are so supportive,” McDowell continued.  “It’s great for their friends and families and all the kids at the school to see.  We want to bring some awareness to what this particular neurological cancer is and try to help prevent this from happening in the future.”
The Swart family gave the following comments regarding their son in his obituary: “Pieter’s huge personality was magnetic. Whether it was telling a joke, his frequent costume changes, or commanding the room with his perspective, he loved to bring people together. His sweet voice was mesmerizing and his ‘original’ comments filled our lives with laughter. He taught us so many lessons in his short life…and forever filled our hearts with love.”
Race fans can offer words of support and find more information at the Pieter’s Pals Facebook page.  
The family has stated that memorials may be made to: Pieter’s Pals at DCPC Preschool, P.O. Box 337, Davidson, NC 28036.  The donations will “be distributed to organizations helping kids & their families battling cancer and groups committed to finding a cure for childhood cancers.”
Fans can tune-in to see the No. 95 KLOVE Ford Fusion compete in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. EDT on ABC and PRN / SiriusXM Radio Ch. 90.
What is Neuroblastoma?
Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer that most often affects children. Neuroblastoma occurs when immature nerve cells called neuroblasts become abnormal and multiply uncontrollably to form a tumor. Most commonly, the tumor originates in the nerve tissue of the adrenal gland located above each kidney. Other common sites for tumors to form include the nerve tissue in the abdomen, chest, neck, or pelvis. Neuroblastoma can spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body such as the bones, liver, or skin.  Neuroblastoma occurs most often in children before age 5 and rarely occurs in adults.


(Source: Genetics Home Reference: http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/neuroblastoma)