Going the Extra Mile for Kids with Cancer
I hate the term “accident.”
By definition, it means something that happens by chance or from unknown causes, and that often causes injury or damage. Over the course of my nearly 25 years as a paramedic, and 23 years as a race car driver, I’ve seen hundreds of these so-called “accidents.” The truth of the matter is that most of these events really could have been prevented.
When it comes to kids with cancer, though, there are fewer greater accidents than that. There was no driver error; no weather-related road conditions; no in-vehicle distractions. These children did nothing to make this happen. They have been innocently dragged into a situation where they have to literally fight for their life in a way that I simply can’t comprehend.
As a paramedic, the toughest calls almost always involved a child. So when I had an incident, not an accident, during a race four years ago, I decided that I would switch gears and combine my passion with motorsports with my passion for helping to address childhood cancer.
In January of 2012, my son Ben, wife Lenora and I decided to start our own fundraising initiative called Hands Together for a Cure. The recipe was quite simple: take one great cause such as fighting childhood cancer, add in the community, and mix it together with one awesome Porsche GT3 that is covered with colourful handprints signed by kids who are or who have been afflicted with cancer. Top it off with giving cancer survivors and donors the ride of their lives at the annual Knox Mountain Hill Climb in Kelowna B.C.
Let’s be clear: this is definitely not a Sunday drive. Passengers get to experience the full-meal deal, from wearing a full Nomex race suit, helmet, arm restraints and six-point safety harness. Once we leave the start line, the fun really starts. Speeds reached are in excess of 160 km/h and the cornering and braking G forces are sensations that can’t be described, only experienced.
Each year, 12 people get to go for “the ride” up the 5.5-km paved track with 10 corners and 800 feet of elevation. Donations of $500 or more will get the donor or a cancer survivor a ride they will never forget. All donations go directly to the Kids Cancer Care Foundation.
Thanks to generous donations and the caring public, Hands Together for a Cure has raised more than $55,000 in the last four years of running the initiative every spring. Even more important, 50 amazing people got the opportunity to go for the ride of their lives!
It continues to be an absolute privilege to be able to run Hands Together for a Cure every year. The smiles on the faces of the children we’re helping is the only reward I need.
Aside from kids cancer, most things happen for a reason.
In other words, it’s no accident that I’m doing what I am today.
Thanks to all of my supporters. We’re making a difference and I know I’m not alone.
How has your job inspired you to help in the community?
See you next year at the track!
For more on this great initiative, watch: http://youtu.be/yTAXZhvultU