Linda Ledoux is the mother of three, a painter, a soccer coach, a Cub Scout den leader, a part-time employee at EMC and a race car driver. Linda has always had a passion for cars and driving fast. The daughter of a mechanic, she spent endless hours in the shop with her father, watching as he repaired, serviced and maintained cars. Over the years, Linda’s passion never waned. In May of 2011, she attended an intensive two-day racing school at Monticello Motor Club in Monticello, N.Y., earning her license and fulfilling her dream of race car driving.
Linda and her husband, Bruce (a wealth management advisor by day), are cofounders of Guardian Angel Motorsports, a 501c3 nonprofit that uses motorsports to raise money and awareness for children who suffer disease, illness or abuse.
Guardian Angel Motorsports was born out of the Ledouxes’ personal experience.
“Our fundraising started with our own son, Colin, who at a very young age was diagnosed with a genetic disorder where he has one chromosome that has a piece missing, which is like a book missing a chapter and one chromosome that has a piece that broke off and reattached at another spot, called a translocation; it’s like adding additional chapters to a book, but in another location,” Linda said.
As a way of giving back to the doctors and nurses at Boston Children’s Hospital who gave so much to them during Colin’s diagnosis and treatments, the Ledouxes decided to raise money for the hospital through the 24 hours of Daytona, a 24-hour sports car endurance race held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. Bruce, who is a professional race car driver in his spare time, took to the wheel and raised over $75,000 for Boston Children’s Hospital.
The 24 hours of Daytona was just the beginning for Guardian Angel Motorsports, which has raised over $250,000 for various children and charities. Among them Dillan Verrill, Bella Tucker, Naomi Johnson, Access Sport America, David’s House, Friends of Bella, Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, Hole in the Wall Gang, Love 146, Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress, Myra Kraft Foundation, Samantha’s Hope, Saving Teens, Starlight Foundation, Franciscan Hospital, Cops for Kids, CJ Wilson’s Children’s Charities, Bethel Woods, Angel Flight and Autism Society of West Shore.
“We raised money for sweet little 11-year-old Bella, who, at age 9, lost both her arms and both her legs due to a blood infection,” Linda said. “We raised money to buy her a handicap van and purchase some adaptive equipment, and we have gave her some adaptive swimming lessons. She is someone we will continue to fundraise for.”
Guardian Angel Motorsports is currently fundraising for 18-month-old Brendan Shanahan, son of Southborough firefighter Chris Shanahan and his wife, Melinda; Brendan was recently diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. (http://www.communityadvocate.com/2012/07/31/southborough-firefighter-battles-more-than-fires/).
“As soon as I heard about Brendan, I jumped in with both feet to help,” Linda said.
The weekend of Oct. 27 and 28, Linda will be racing (with five other drivers) in the annual 24 Hours of LeMans race at the New Hampshire International Speedway, 1122 Route 106 North in Loudon. Anyone wanting to support the Shanahans can give a direct donation or pledge a dollar amount per lap on the organizations website at http://www.guardianangelmotorsports.com/kids-in-need/brendan.
“Raising money to help patients and their families is what I live for,” Linda said. “Sometimes it’s all I can think about: What I can do to help this person or that person? I feel more complete when I give back. I think more so now than ever, since I was blessed with my special child nine years ago. He has taught me so much through all his challenges that anything is possible.”
To learn more about Guardian Angel Motorsports, visit http://guardianangelmotorsports.com.