SALISBURY, N.B. - The sun was barely over the horizon when final preparations got underway at the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury, N.B. The first New Brunswick Convoy for a Cure had been in the planning ...
PINK PREVAILED: Decorations adorning the trucks left little doubt what the event was all about.
SALISBURY, N.B. –The sun was barely over the horizon when final preparations got underway at the Irving Big Stop in Salisbury, N.B. The first New Brunswick Convoy for a Cure had been in the planning stages for almost a year, and when Oct. 17 finally arrived, Roxanne Doran Smith, Jo Anne Phillips, and their crew of volunteers were in full flight.
Drivers were on the parking lot readying their trucks for the 40- mile trip to Aulac, N.B., and the cooks in the truck stop were preparing to feed nearly 50 drivers and their supporters. Even the weather was on their side; cool and clear, with just a light layer of frost on the windshields.
Fifteen female drivers and 31 of their male partners, supporters, and friends, from as far off as Brockville, Ont., and Summerville, Nfld. formed a mile-long truck convoy that Saturday morning, and they contributed more than $42,000 to the quest to find a cure for breast cancer.
Smith had said some weeks before the event that in her wildest dreams she dared to hope for 50 trucks and $50,000.
“We almost achieved what I had only dreamed of. What a day. I cried, I laughed, I thought, I ran, and when I finally relaxed at the end I was utterly overwhelmed by the support I received from everyone,” Smith says.
You could hardly call the final tally a shortfall. The entry fee was $75 per truck, so clearly many of the participants worked pretty hard to raise the stakes.
The top female fundraisers were Jo Anne Phillips of Midland Transport with $5,405, Linda Harding of Midland Transport with $2,638, and Joanne Menzies of Transport GTI with $2,300.The top male fundraiser was Jake Cormier of Kent Building Supplies with $2,270.
In addition to making a sizable contribution to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation -Atlantic Region, Smith says the Convoy also helped build bridges between the public and the trucking community.
“I was amazed to see the overpasses along the convoy route lined with cheering, flag-waving supporters,” she notes. “I’m not sure how they heard about the convoy, but there were lots of people out cheering us on. That was just amazing. I was really proud, just then, to be associated with this industry. These drivers are an amazing bunch of people.”
Not even two weeks have elapsed since the event, and Smith and her co-organizer Phillips have assembled a team of seven volunteers to prepare for next year. Smith says she’s looking for three major sponsors to cover some of the administrative costs and overhead, including, hopefully, a really big tent for destination celebrations, and phone, fax, and Internet services.
“We’re going to make this one of the fundraising events in Atlantic Canada,” Smith says.
“Plans are now in the works for online donations and permission from CBCF to sell merchandise (t-shirts, hats and the like) on the day of the convoy with all net proceeds going to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation -Atlantic Region. And watch for a number of mini-fundraisers throughout the year.”
Next year, the event will be known as the Convoy for a Cure – Atlantic Canada, and they’ll soon have a new Web site.
Two other Canadian Convoy for a Cure events took place in October. The Ontario edition of Convoy for a Cure saw 41 trucks raise $19,000, and the Alberta event brought out 21 trucks contributing over $21,000 for the cause.
The first American Convoy for a Cure ran Saturday, Oct. 24 from Willie’s Place at Carl’s Corners, Texas. Organizers announced that 31 trucks brought in $12,400.
Rachele Champagne, the visionary professional driver who dreamt up the Convoy for a Cure concept, said planning is already underway for 2010 convoys and she hopes more regions will come on-board.
There are already plans to add a second convoy in Ontario, which will offer more convenient access for drivers in the Southern Ontario area.
“Obviously we want to get bigger and better every year, with more prizes and stuff like that,” she says.
You can also find the event on Facebook, by searching for the group ‘Convoy for a Cure.’ •
‘I was utterly overwhelmed by the support I received from everyone.’
Roxanne Doran Smith
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