Sutco goes from pink to plaid in effort to raise funds to fight cancer

SALMO, B.C. – On the heels of its success “driving toward a cure” to raise money to fight breast cancer, Sutco Transportation Specialists is at it again with a new initiative, transforming from pink to plaid.

Five years ago, the carrier unveiled its pink, 2015 Kenworth T680, which it named Pink Power, raising over $61,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society to fight breast cancer.

“This was one of the most recognizable tractors on the highway in Southern British Columbia and was present at multiple community events,” said Melanie Sutherland, co-owner and accounting manager at Sutco, adding Pink Power was decommissioned after traveling more than one million kilometers since 2014. “The pink tractor was the beginning of something very special in our organization and it was important that we followed up with another community initiative which would create the same powerful impact.”

That initiative turned out to be Plaid for Dad, which raises money to combat prostate cancer. As part of the effort, Sutco has launched a new truck – a 2019 Kenworth T680 – decaled in plaid.

Garnering more than $30,000 for the campaign thus far, Sutco is the top workplace in Canada with the amount it has raised for Plaid for Dad.

“Being involved in campaigns like this really helps us define who we are as an organization,” said Chris Sutherland, Sutco president and co-owner. “Our commitment to community is truly what our team members, business partners, and community as a whole have come to expect and appreciate from Sutco.”

During the time Pink Power was on the road raising funds to fight breast cancer, Melanie said the Canadian Trucking Alliance (CTA) was looking to have trucking companies support the Plaid for Dad movement.

“We loved the idea, but wanted our pink tractor to complete the full campaign,” she said, adding that the seed, however, was planted for the transition to Plaid for Dad once the time was right. “This truly is a strong fit for Sutco. Sutco’s co-founder, Bob Sutherland, is a survivor of prostate cancer.”

Melanie said one in seven men are diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime, and with 97% of truck drivers being male, the impact is significant.

“At the end of the day, these odds strain numerous families and it is our goal to pave the way for increased awareness,” Melanie said. “If diagnosed early, prostate cancer can be defeated quickly and efficiently.”

Sutco is projecting to raise more than $100,000 over the next four years with its Plaid for Dad campaign.

The company has several sponsors who have committed to support Sutco’s effort, all making a yearly donation of $2,000.

The Sutherland Group of Companies – Sutco Transportation, Summit Truck and Equipment Repair, B.C. EcoChips, Landmark Timber Services, and Hadean Aggregate Solutions – has also raised an additional $10,416.

Doug Sutherland, co-owner, vice-president, and general manager for Sutco, said other trucking companies like Arnold Bros. Transport, Kriska Transportation, and Tandet have all paved the way for the Plaid for Dad movement.

“Consistently, the trucking industry is the highest fundraising section in the country,” said Doug. “Also, a lot of the success for Plaid for Dad in trucking comes from the CTA and T4C’s (Trucks for Change) involvement. They introduced this platform about four years ago to their members.”

Melanie said other companies looking to launch similar initiatives should first get their team members engaged in an effort important to them.

“Once you touch your people emotionally, you have so much more success in creating fundraising engagement,” she said. “Our entire team of people involved are honored and proud to be involved in something so amazing.”

Anyone looking to donate to Sutco’s campaign can do so on the company’s website starting in May 2020 once its Plaid for Dad page is back up and running and the campaign is again active during the summer.

Other carriers can also start their own fundraising efforts.

“I would strongly encourage people to reach out to Prostate Cancer Canada,” advised Melanie. “They have everything you need to run a campaign at”

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A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media and trucking industries as a writer, editor, and now as western bureau chief of Today's Trucking and I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels.

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