Wednesday, October 28, 2009

On the scene at ‘Convoy for a Cure’

Last weekend, I traveled to Willie’s Place in Carl’s Corner, TX, to cover the first-ever U.S. “Convoy for a Cure” for OOIDA’s Land Line Magazine. And I am proud to say that I convoyed with some of the most courageous truckers you will ever meet.

Many of the women truckers I met at the “Cure” convoy are also breast cancer survivors, who have done battle with this brutal disease and won. Their survival stories would truly touch your heart. I know they did mine. For those of you who took the time to tell me your stories, I am honored to have met each one of you. Fight on!

All who were there had the same goal in mind to “drive out breast cancer one truck at a time” by raising money for research and early detection efforts.

I hitched a ride in the convoy with new OOIDA member Belinda Blacketer and her sweet dog, AJ, who now call Springfield, MO, home. She raised the second highest amount of money for the “Cure” convoy. She told me she was at the convoy to honor her sister-in-law who passed away from breast cancer at the age of 30. Thanks again for the ride!

OOIDA Life Member Cindy Stowe of Will’s Point, TX, organized the Texas convoy, which had 31 trucks and raised $13,000 for breast cancer research.

Although she was thoroughly exhausted after the convoy, I am happy to report that Cindy has already confirmed there will be a convoy next year at Willie’s Place. I think the foot rub Cindy received from one of the servers at dinner convinced her that the “show must go on” again next year.

Several bands and musicians turned out to perform for convoy attendees, including OOIDA members Leland Martin and Howard Salmon. Howard’s wife even flew in from Hawaii to attend the day’s festivities.

Representing Canada were “Cure” convoy founder Rachèle Champagne and Chantal Rheault, who has had her hands full this year wrangling the “Cure” Web sites for the convoys.

Rachèle is one ambitious lady. She is hoping that more female truckers will be inspired to host more “Cure” convoys across the U.S. and in Canada. The goal is for this “Cure” convoy idea to grow and to raise money for breast cancer research.

This year, the four convoys, three in Canada and one in the U.S., raised nearly $100,000 for breast cancer research.

“This has been an amazing experience,” Rachèle said.

And let me tell you something: OOIDA member Michele White of Rockwood, TN, is one tough cookie. She has battled cancer not once, not twice, but five times, and has beaten it back every time. She is an amazing woman. Michele also raised the most money and earned the lead truck position at the convoy.

“My philosophy now is that every day you wake up breathing is a good day,” Michele told me.

You can bet I will do my best to make it back there next year.

You can see more photos from the Texas “Convoy for a Cure” on Land Line Magazine’s Facebook Fan Page.

PHOTO: Land Line’s Clarissa Kell-Holland (left) poses with OOIDA Life Member Cindy Stowe, who organized the first-ever U.S. “Cure” convoy on Oct. 24 at Willie’s Place in Carl’s Corner, TX.