TORONTO, Ont. – If you’re scratching your head at the countless gangs of trucks populating the roads this fall, not to worry, you’re not seeing double (or more): it’s just convoy season in Canada. Convoys from across the country are gearing up to hit the highways in support of various cancer charities.
Convoy For A Cure is back for its fourth installment on Oct. 1, but this year organizers are shaking things up. Though in the past, Convoy For A Cure has featured an all-female troupe of truckers driving in support of breast cancer research, a recent increase in male support at the event will see monies raised spread across the top four cancer causes (lung, colon, breast and prostate) via the Canadian Cancer Society. Participants can display their cancer cause of choice with different coloured ribbons: pearl for lung, dark blue for colon, pink for breast and light blue for prostate.
The convoy – or should I say convoys – will also feature another change: two starting points with one finish line. One convoy get its start at the 730 Cardinal Truck Stop in Cardinal, Ont. (Hwy 401, Exit 730) while the other will start its journey at the Flying J in Dorion, Que. (Hwy 540, Exit 3). Both convoys will finish at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Cornwall, Ont. (Hwy 401, Exit 792).
Waiting for participants at the finish line will be a BBQ, gift bags, prizes, and a Shania Twain tribute.
Convoy For A Cure founder Rachele Champagne says that there are many ways that people can get involved with this year’s event.
“They can sponsor…without sponsors, events like this simply could not take place. They can participate, whether it’s by entering their truck in the convoy, volunteering or even donating,” she told Truck News. “But no matter how they get involved, one thing is for sure, they will be getting involved in two causes that I hold dear to my heart: raising money for cancer research with the dream of one day living in a cancer-free world, and projecting a positive image in the trucking industry.”
Breast and ovarian cancer survivor Anna Capobianco will also be there to share her story.
“There are obviously many moments of the day that I cherish, but one moment that truly gets to me every year, is our moment of silence,” Champagne says. “It always takes place after Anna tells us her very touching story. We’ll play a song like Amazing Grace or Hallelujah and really take a moment to remember the people we’ve lost.
“It’s a very special and touching moment, the tears, the smiles, the fresh October air, the leaves falling, the music, the decorated trucks in the background, and then finally seeing hundreds of balloons fly away, knowing that most of those balloons represent someone special who passed on.”
For more information, visit www.convoyforacure.ca.
Alberta convoy looking to double-up
The Alberta version of Convoy For A Cure will also be hitting the road on Oct. 1. Last year’s Alberta convoy raised more than $21,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (CBCF). “This year, we want to double those numbers,” organizers said on the group’s Web site.
This year’s convoy will get its start at the Roadking Travel Centre in Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, travelling through the city down the Anthony Henday and Calgary Trail South to Nisku, where the group will convene at Blackjacks Roadhouse.
Prizes are available for the “best dressed” truck and the driver with the most donations will have the honour of being lead truck.
In addition to the lead, all-female convoy, this year’s Alberta Convoy For A Cure will feature a men’s “support convoy.” Male participants are asked to dress up their rigs in pink in support of breast cancer, and, should they decide to don a little pink themselves, there will be a best “drag” outfit prize for drivers who get in touch with their feminine side.
For more information or to register, visit albertaconvoyforacure.ca.
Go west, young woman
The second installment of the Ontario West version of Convoy for a Cure (not affiliated with the above convoys) is set to hit the highway Oct. 15. Last year’s event, which featured a convoy of “pinked out” trucks travelling along the roads of western Ontario, raised more than $36,000 for the CBCF.
This year’s convoy will be running from the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Dorchester to the TA Travel Center in Woodstock. Organizers say the Fifth Wheel will be hosting a free breakfast for all participants in the convoy, while the TA will feature live music, a kid’s play zone, a BBQ, a silent auction, and more when the convoy is complete. The 2011 event will also feature the song “Convoy For The Cure” written by Anne Finley and Bill Petrie. The song was released for download June 28 with proceeds going to the CBCF.
“Funds raised from the convoys will enable the Foundation to invest in advocacy, education and research that is timely, relevant and patient-centred,” organizers said in a release. “The support of the convoys, participating drivers and sponsors is helping to create a future without breast cancer. With breast cancer affecting about 23,400 women in Canada this year, events like this are greatly needed.”
For more information, visit www.convoyforacureontwest.com.
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