Joining Forces for a Good Cause

Russell Wilson and Kasey Kahne host the drive
Russell Wilson recently met Kasey Kahne before a race in Arizona.

Russell Wilson recently met Kasey Kahne before a race in Arizona. Photo courtesy © 2014 Russell LaBounty/NKP; Kasey Kahne; Rod Mar; and Larry Maurer.

Two high-profile sports stars are combining forces and inviting their celebrity friends and fans to a major charity event that will benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of King County.

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl-champion quarterback Russell Wilson and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kasey Kahne are co-hosting the DRIVE concert and golf event at Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum on June 23-24. The festivities will kick off with a healthy-lifestyle pep rally at noon at the NW Plaza of CenturyLink Field. Wear your workout gear and be ready to move. The event is free and open to the public and donations will be accepted.

Later, there will be golf at the Tumble Creek Golf Club, a VIP dinner and reception, followed by entertainment, a VIP party, breakfast the next morning and another day of golf and awards. The starting contributions for four people to participate with all the perks is $15,000. Corporate sponsorships are also available.

Both Wilson and Kahne are passionate about supporting kids. Wilson makes frequent visits to Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Kasey Kahne Foundation is committed to raising funds and awareness to several charities that support sick children and their families.

Kasey Kahne

425: You were born and raised in Enumclaw. How do you think your upbringing and childhood affects who you are today, and how you handle success/fame?

Kahne: I think just growing up in the type of environment that I did taught me how to work hard. I used to bale hay with my dad and grandfather and they put me to work and showed me the value of hard work.

425: There are so many great causes and you’ve chosen to focus on helping chronically ill children and their families as well as disadvantaged youth. How did you decide to focus your Kasey Kahne Foundation toward these goals? Please tell us why kids — especially in tough situations — seem to touch your heart.

Kahne: To me, there is nothing better than putting a smile on a child’s face. To be able to help children that wouldn’t normally have certain opportunities is why we started the KKF. We are all so fortunate to do what we do and it is so important to be able to give back and help those that aren’t as fortunate and are in a tough situation.

425: Do you have a child or family that you’ve met, or a situation in general, that stands out in your mind? Something that has happened during your community service that has made you stop and say to yourself, “This is WHY I’m doing this…” Please tell us about that moment, or any other situation that might help people understand you better.

Kahne: There have been different kids over the years that really put things into perspective and make you glad that you are a part of trying to help these kids and put smiles on their faces. Every day is usually a struggle for these kids and their families. I met Rylee last year through the Make a Wish program and she was able to come to Daytona with me in July for the race. To see the general joy and happiness that she experienced is hard to put into words. We stay in touch and she sends me texts and cards. She is doing great!

425: What is it like to be behind the wheel of a race car? Is it pure adrenaline? Exciting?

Kahne: It isn’t always pure adrenaline. It is exciting, especially at restrictor plate races.

425: Do you ever get scared? What scares you most?

Kahne: Not scared, but not being able to win. Not knowing how to win is scary to me as a driver.

425: Do you visit the South Sound/Enumclaw often? When you do come home where do you like to go?

Kahne: I don’t make it home very often, but I enjoy going back to Enumclaw and visiting friends and family. I enjoy hiking Mount Rainer. I try and visit the Kettle in Enumclaw for breakfast, too. I had fun visiting my old elementary school when I was recently home. It was fun to go back to my old classrooms.

425: What do you like to do in your free time (when you have it)?

Kahne: I enjoy hanging out on the lake, grilling with friends and family, playing sports.

425: What is your favorite racing/fast car movie and why?

Kahne: “Days of Thunder” is pretty good! “Talladega Nights,” too

425: If you weren’t racing cars, what do you think your career would be?

Kahne: My dad was a logger so I would probably be in construction in some form.

425: In 25 years, where do you picture yourself?

Kahne: That’s a tough one. I try not to picture too far out. I have a lot of goals to accomplish first, winning more races and getting a championship for Hendrick Motorsports.

Russell Wilson

425: You post a Bible verse on your Twitter account each day. Which Bible verse is your favorite and why?

Wilson: Matthew 6:33 is my favorite verse. It reminds me that everything I do comes secondary. The world revolves around something other than what I have going on.

425: You do a lot of volunteer work and use your public platform to make a difference in people’s lives in many ways. Is there a particular situation that you had that stands out in your mind and that really touched your heart? Can you tell us about it?

Wilson: Every time I go to Children’s Hospital my heart gets touched. Each kid and his/her family have a unique story that touches my heart. I am looking forward to the season so I can get back to a routine of going in there. The resolve and spirit of those kids encourages me to be better and try harder.

425: You come from a very athletic family — talent and athleticism seem to be in your genes. What’s not in your genes that also make you the great athlete, leader and man you are today?

Wilson: I’ve been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to play collegiately and professionally in two sports. I played college football at two schools. I have been fortunate to have a lot of teammates, guys that were going to play in the NFL and MLB and other guys who were not. I try to listen to and learn from coaches, trainers and teammates to figure out a process to make things better. I think that helps me be a better leader.

425: When you are home in the Seattle area, where do you like to eat, visit, etc.? Please tell us about some of your favorite places.

Wilson: When I first got here, I lived in downtown Bellevue, so I used to frequent the restaurants at The Bravern, where I used to live. It is harder now to quietly go out to eat, so I eat in a lot. I really enjoy the natural beauty of the Northwest, so I go places to enjoy the nature more than anything now.

425: So about the hair … growing it out seemed to be a good-luck charm that worked for you again. Are you going to do it again? Do you have any less public lucky charms and/or rituals?

Wilson: Not sure about the hair going forward … The one thing I always do is find a place in every stadium to focus in on when things get hectic. I find that spot, no matter how noisy or whatever and it brings me back to zero.

425: Rumor has it you are a really good swimmer. What other things do you do to stay in shape?

Wilson: The trainers do a really good job of giving us training programs, so I follow those. I have picked up swimming this past year and really enjoy it. I work on trying to maintain strength while keeping flexibility.

425: How has life changed since joining the Seahawks, and now with the Super Bowl win?

Wilson: For one, I have fallen in love with the Seattle area. I played minor league baseball in the Northwest, so I knew I liked it, but it has really captured my heart. As for the Super Bowl win, my calendar has been full of wonderful opportunities that I otherwise might not have had. I have had the chance to meet some wonderful people and go to some wonderful places. Being on the Super Bowl champion team has definitely brought more notoriety as it has for all my teammates as well. I think all of us are looking forward to getting back to work and building another championship team.

425: If you weren’t doing sports, what would you be doing?

Wilson: I love business and I love working with kids. I run my Passing Academy every summer during our down time. I enjoy meeting business owners and executives and learning about their processes and goals. My long term goal is to own a professional sports team, so hopefully I am doing the right things to work toward that!

425: Everyone knows your name now and your potential — you are a great athlete and very much on every radar. So who is the next man (men) in line? Who is the player in the NFL that isn’t on the radar yet …. but you think will be soon?

Wilson: The league has so many great young players, many of them on the Seahawks. We have had a “next man up” mentality that helped us though injuries and other setbacks, so I think we believe that any of us could be the next man up to make a great play or become the next starter at a given position.

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