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Cancer convoys raise more than $83,000

WOODSTOCK, Ont. - A group of Canadian trucking convoys bookended the Thanksgiving holiday this October by hitting the highway in support of various cancer charities. And the end results provided a lot to be thankful for, with a combined total...


WOODSTOCK, Ont. – A group of Canadian trucking convoys bookended the Thanksgiving holiday this October by hitting the highway in support of various cancer charities. And the end results provided a lot to be thankful for, with a combined total of more than $83,000 raised at the three events.

Convoy for a Cure was back for its fourth instalment on Oct. 1, and despite a lower than usual turnout, event founder Rachele Champagne says she was pleased with the nearly $20,000 the 25 participating trucks were able to raise.

The convoy featured two new aspects designed to shake things up. For one, the convoy decided to forgo its usual all-female troupe of truckers driving in support of breast cancer research, and included both male drivers and other cancer charities, including lung, colon and prostate.

The convoy also featured two starting points – one in Cardinal, Ont. and one in Dorion, Que. – with both convoys finishing up in Cornwall, Ont.

“We had anticipated way more trucks with the two start points but we only got 25 trucks participate in total, (so) the amount we raised is amazing considering the few trucks we had,” Champagne told Truck News. But she added the weather conspired against them to decrease numbers. “It was freezing and raining so our idea to have it in Cornwall to attract the local people to see the free Shania Twain (tribute) show didn’t work, because I myself would probably not want to leave my home in that weather to go stand outside in the rain.”

The Alberta version of Convoy for a Cure also hit the road on Oct. 1, raising $15,833 for its efforts. The event attracted 17 participating trucks – which drove from Sherwood Park, near Edmonton, to Nisku – as well as more than 100 other supporters.

As with the Ontario-Quebec version of the convoy, the event was opened up to men.

“People in general were very happy that we were opening the convoy up to men,” said event organizer Mylene Rusk. “Opening the event up to men also meant that we could increase our number of participants as well, and every person helps raise more money and awareness. It was important to acknowledge the men in their efforts to make us realize that they too, are affected by breast cancer.”

Male participants were asked to dress up their rigs in pink in support of breast cancer, and a best “drag” outfit prize was offered for drivers who decided to get in touch with their feminine side. Five drivers took the bait: four from Canadian Freightways and the fifth was Chris Scheetz a radio personality from CISN Country FM, who drove a Rosenau truck and pulled a CISN trailer. “As we travelled…Chris did live radio play-by-play of our ride,” Rusk said.

“We really wanted to let everyone know who supported us, participated and those that just came by to see the convoy, how much we appreciated all they did for us. It was great to see the day come together, after all the hard work of organizing it.”

The second instalment of the Ontario West version of Convoy for a Cure (not affiliated with the above convoys) was back once again Oct. 15 and was able to eclipse last year’s total by more than $11,000. The 38 participants raised a whopping $47,501, with Donna Hoogendoorn and Stephanie Schroeder leading the charge, bringing in the highest pledges with about $3,000 and $1,900, respectively.

Winning the top prizes for the best “pinked out” trucks were Monique Menard of Highland Transport and Bruce Petrie of Molson Coors.

This year’s convoy got its start at the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Dorchester before finishing at the TA Travel Center in Woodstock. The Fifth Wheel hosted a free breakfast for all participants in the convoy, while the TA featured live music, a kid’s play zone, a BBQ, and a silent auction after the last rig pulled in.

The 2011 event also featured the song ‘Convoy For The Cure’ written by Anne Finley and Bill Petrie. The song was released for download on June 28 with proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation.

“For only being our second year, I think the event went very well. The drivers and supporters all seemed to be enjoying themselves even with the cold rainy weather,” said event coordinator Joanne Mackenzie.

“It’s such a sight to see everyone ‘pinking out’ their big rigs for their ride along Hwy. 401. The compassion, dedication and friendship you see in the drivers and supporters all having their own personal reason or some with heartfelt stories of some kind of cancer affecting their lives. Everyone there that day was wanting to help give the ‘Gift of Hope’ in finding a cure. This is why they are all called the driving force battling breast cancer one truck at a time.”


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