Mooresville, N.C. (AP) -- Championship contender Martin Truex Jr. has tweaked the mission statement of his foundation to now focus on raising awareness and funding for childhood and ovarian cancer initiatives. 

Truex's longtime girlfriend, Sherry Pollex, has been battling ovarian cancer for more than a year. The couple has a video discussing their new focus. 

September is the national awareness month for both childhood and ovarian cancers. The foundation hopes to raise $500,000 to support research of childhood and ovarian cancers this month and throughout The Chase for the Sprint Cup championship.  

The foundation already has one doner who has pledged to match the first $100,000 in donations. Bob Douglas of Kihei, Hawaii, saw media coverage of Truex Jr. and Pollex leading into the August race at Pocono and made his pledge.

 "Martin and Sherry have been able to take a life-changing and near-death experience and turn it into an incredibly positive effort to help others," Douglas said.

Should Truex win a race in the Chase, he''ll donate $50,000. 

“As part of our new mission and new look we have made it our goal is to raise a half million dollars to go toward research projects for both cancers," Truex Jr. said. "Bob has pledged $100,000 as part of a match, and with a race win, I will add another $50,000 to help reach our fundraising goal."

Truex Jr. launched his foundation in 2007 to help children. Over the years, Truex Jr. and Pollex have become more passionate about helping children with cancer. Then Pollex was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in August 2014.
The couple is determined to find less toxic, more effective drug treatments and cures for childhood cancer. Knowing firsthand how radiation, chemotherapy and toxic chemicals decimate a body's system, Truex and Pollex are determined to help find better, safer ways to save the lives of babies, toddlers and teenagers battling cancer.

“The damage that these lifesaving drugs do to your system is awful and, at the end, there is still no guarantee that you will be cancer free," Pollex said. "What will the long-term effects be on these poor kids' systems 10, 20 and 30 years from now?” Pollex said only 4 percent of national funding goes toward childhood cancer research, and the percentage of funding allocated for ovarian cancer is equally abysmal.

Pollex continues to work with the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance (OCNA) to help teach women about the symptoms of ovarian cancer. An estimated 22,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer this year and 14,000 will die – a mortality rate of more than 60 percent.  Ovarian cancer is called the “silent killer” because by the time the cancer is discovered, it is often too late to save a life.

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