Jocelyn Dettloff, Annual Fund Director for the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, isn’t one to shy away from a high-adrenaline adventure.
When Jocelyn — who in 1997 was paralyzed in a sand sledding accident in Namibia, Africa — was recently given the chance to drive a race car on the Berlin Raceway, she embraced the challenge with gusto.
The opportunity arose when Mary Free Bed supporter Chuck Pierson invited his friends Jocelyn, Clock Mobility‘s Kadi DeHaan and MedEquip owner Pat Besta to take a spin around the track in Chuck’s Caprice Classic.
Chuck, who has been paralyzed since 1976, owns several race cars, including one equipped with hand controls.
Kadi and Pat — who is married to Maria Besta, manager of Mary Free Bed’s Wheelchair & Adaptive Sports (WAS), and who plays WAS softball, tennis and basketball — also lost use of their legs after separate automobile accidents.
“Most people without disabilities never get the opportunity to drive a race car around a race track, so it was pretty extraordinary that three paras were offered the chance to do it,” Jocelyn says.
Jocelyn, who plays tennis with the WAS tennis program, jokes, “I had the fastest time between the three of us. Not that I’m competitive or anything.”
Jocelyn switched to the passenger seat after her turn driving so she could experience a few rounds with Chuck at the wheel and “ride with someone who could really drive.”
“It was a very fun day,” Jocelyn says. “Even days after doing it, I still get a huge grin on my face when I think about zipping around the track.”
In addition to owning Pierson Motorsports Inc., Chuck also is a T-shirt and uniform vendor for Mary Free Bed. He coordinates the WAS Annual Benefit Golf Outing and has been involved with WAS programs for 10 years. Last year, he brought one of his custom race cars to Mary Free Bed to give patients and staff an opportunity to see it in person. (Photo below.)
Read more about the recent adventures at Berlin Raceway and see additional photos via an MLive story published June 30, 2015.