BOISE – NASCAR fans, mark your calendars because racing royalty is coming to Boise. Legendary racer Kyle Petty will make his way through the City of Trees as part of his annual fundraiser called Charity Ride Across America.
All money raised pays for families who have children with chronic or life threatening illnesses. Families like the Pearls from Boise who have gone to Victory Junction for the last three years.
This weekend, they're hoping to get the chance to meet Kyle Petty, the man who started the whole thing.
Victory Junction in North Carolina is a place to escape, an oasis from realities kids shouldn't have to deal with.
"They switch from being, 'Oh, that's the kid with cancer.' 'Oh, that's the kids with Crones.' 'Or that's the kid that's been in a fire.' They become Tommy or Sally or Susie or whoever they are and they just get to have fun and be kids," said Kyle Petty.
Former NASCAR racer Kyle Petty started Victory Junction in his oldest son Adam's memory. Adam died in a racing accident in 2000.
The camp is for kids, ages 6 to 16, and their families who have chronic or life threatening diseases.
"We bring the kids to camp, take care of them there, take care of all of their medical needs and allow them to do the things that kids do at camps. So it's just an empowering experience," said Petty.
Alyssa Pearl and her father Jim share a rare genetic disease, it’s the reason they’ve been able to go to the camp.
"It's all really fun, but I do like the snack shack and the swimming pool," said Alyssa Pearl.
They have Fabry disease, something that impacts 1 in 60,000 people.
"That first year that we went, it was eye opening because I know at that time I wasn't alone," said Jim Pearl.
Petty funds the camp through his motorcycle fundraiser called Charity Ride Across America. In the 18 previous years, they've raised over $13 million, making the camp free for everyone who attends the several day session.
"We get to ride motorcycles, we get to raise money, and kids get to go to camp, and that's the way it works," said Petty.
To date, over 17,000 people have attended Victory Junction.
"When we're in Boise, Idaho and you don't know anybody else with the disease, you feel kind of isolated. So it's good to know that there are people and a support system out there,” said Angie Pearl, Jim’s wife.
Saturday, the Pearl's hope to meet Kyle Petty for the first time.
"I'm just going to thank him for what he's done for us and that I really appreciate," Alyssa Pearl.
Charity Ride Across America starts this Saturday in Coeur d'Alene. About 175 motorcycle riders, including Petty, will ride into Boise just before 6 p.m.
The public is invited to welcome them in at the Riverside Hotel in Boise. The Pearl's plan to be there with their Victory Junction t-shirts.
The charity fundraiser lasts seven days and will wrap up in Tempe, Arizona.
For more information on the ride and Victory Junction click here.