Choose a charity to support, then hop in your ride, and drive on April 27. Cruise for Your Cause is that simple.
For the second year, Pitt Meadows resident Travis Bowering is organizing the memorial car cruise which he said holds a very close place in his family’s heart.
The inaugural cruise, on April 15, 2012, took place nearly a year after his dad Larry’s passing.
Larry, who lived just south of Edmonton, was an avid car aficionado who circuit raced open-wheel dirt-track cars and quarter-mile Willys. Over the years, many vehicles were part of his collection. Among his pride and joy was a 1967 Malibu SS.
Like his dad, Bowering has oil in his veins, so to speak.
“You could say it [a love for cars] has been in my blood for a lot of years,” Bowering said.
The owner of a souped-up 1972 VW Super Beetle, Bowering has raced autocross for more than four years at a controlled road course at Pitt Meadows Airport.
Reflecting on his dad, Bowering described him as “a car guy,” adding, “he was a volunteer firefighter with the Millet, Alberta, fire department for 30 years, and he had many years of struggling with health issues, kidney failure, kidney transplants – you name it, he pretty much had gone through any kind of health issues.”
Larry was on dialysis for roughly five years prior to his kidney transplant, which lasted 12 years. After that kidney failed, Larry was back on dialysis for three more years before passing away on April 25, 2011.
Bowering said he misses his dad every day.
“We were super close,” Bowering said. “He was my mentor. I’d call him my hero, I guess. The distance factor was a huge struggle, just not being close to them [his family] and offer the support that I could have.”
His dad’s struggles with kidney disease is the reason Bowering’s personal charity of support is the B.C. branch of the Kidney Foundation of Canada.
“Any money that I would personally raise, that’s who I would be donating to,” he said. “I figured that would be the best charity to support being that that was the most affected thing in his life.”
Because of his father Larry’s passion for cars, Bowering said the cruise is a way to remember him and “keep the legacy going, and do something to mark the anniversary of his passing.”
This event is also an opportunity as a car community to gather together and provide an avenue to support various causes and charities while remembering those special people around us, Bowering explained.
“I know there are many other people out there who have lost someone special or who may be currently struggling with health issues and would like to keep the memory of a loved one alive,” he said. “I am providing an opportunity for anyone and everyone who may have a special or unique ride to dust off the cobwebs and start off the driving season with a purpose. The cruise is a chance to make a difference in someone else’s life by doing something that we all personally enjoy...driving.”
What makes this event unique is that those who participate can support the charity of their choice.
Bowering called last year’s cruise a success. Participants drove 32 unique cars during the 207-kilometre cruise, stopping at six different locations including the BC Kidney Foundation headquarters in Burnaby, fire halls in Richmond and Langley, Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam, and Mission Raceway.
The 2012 cruise raised roughly $1,000 for various local charities.
This year, Bowering plans on smashing those numbers.
He’s mapping out a route, and figures it’ll cover about 250 kilometres of asphalt this year.
The cruise will start in Burnaby at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 27 and travels east through Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge, Mission, and Abbotsford, then boomerangs west to Langley and White Rock before finishing in Vancouver. Exact route details will be offered to registered participants closer to the cruise date.
Information can be found online at www.cruiseforyourcause.org and on the event’s Facebook page. There is a registration link on the website.
“All I’m using registration for this year is to keep track of the donations raised, which charities have been supported, and I’m using the registration number for giveaways and prize draws during the cruise,” Bowering said.
Bowering currently has five sponsors for cruise and he said he is always looking for more sponsors, “if anyone wants to get a hold of me through the website.”
While the 2013 cruise is still more than three months away, donations are already coming in.
Looking ahead to this year’s fundraiser, Bowering said what you drive is entirely up to you.
“Anything and everything,” Bowering said. “It can be a daily driver, it can be a motorbike, it can be a truck, a classic, hot rod, exotic, whatever you want. The big thing is, do a donation to a charity and just come out for a drive.”